Vegan Diet - A Healthy Diet

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Vegan Diet - A Healthy Diet

Vegan Diet - A Healthy Diet

As nearly everyone acknowledges today, a vegan diet, when a properly balanced one, is a perfectly healthy lifestyle choice. Indeed, vegan diets are usually healthier than meat-eating diets with much evidence now documenting lower incidence of many major diseases amongst those on a vegan diet.

Some high-profile celebrities such as Victoria Beckham have recently been seen with vegan diet and vegan cookery books, which might lead some who wouldn’t have considered a vegan diet previously to try following one. However, it is still possible to eat unhealthily as a vegan, just as it is to do so following a non-vegan diet. As with all things in life, variety is the secret to a healthy vegan diet.

Victoria Beckham and Skinny Bitch Book

To help you ensure that you are getting all of the essential nutrients and to suggest some foods that you may wish to increase your intake of, we have put together the brief guide below.

Vegan Diet Nutrition

Here are some vegan sources of key nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, fats (including essential fatty acids), minerals and vitamins. Many of the vegan foods listed are also good sources of fibre (soluble and insoluble) as well as phytochemicals and other micronutrients. By varying your diet to ensure that you are eating a good selection of foods from all of these groups you can help to ensure that are eating the healthiest possible vegan diet.

Sources of Protein in a Vegan Diet

Whole grains (eg. whole wheat flour, bread and pasta, brown rice, oats, rye), nuts (eg. hazels, cashews, brazils, almonds), seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin), legumes/pulses (peas, beans, lentils), soya products (flour, soya milk, tofu, tempeh).

Sources of Carbohydrates in a Vegan Diet

Whole grains (e.g. wheat, oats, barley, rice), whole-wheat bread, pasta and other flour products, lentils, beans, potatoes, onions, dried and fresh fruit.

Sources of Fats in a Vegan Diet

Nuts and seeds, nut and seed oils, vegan margarine, avocados.

Sources of Essential Fatty Acids in a Vegan Diet

Two polyunsaturated fatty acids not made by the body are linoleic acid (omega 6 group) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3 group). These are available from the following food sources:

Sources of Essential Fatty Acids in a Vegan Diet

Linoleic Acid (omega 6)
Safflower, sunflower, corn, evening primrose, hempseed and soy oils.

Alpha-linolenic Acid (omega 3)
Flaxseed, pumpkin seed, walnut, hempseed, soy and rapeseed oils.

Nb: The best balance for omega-6:omega-3 intake is roughly 3:1

Sources of Vitamins in a Vegan Diet

A sufficient intake of the necessary vitamins is necessary for the health of us all. The major vitamins can be found from the non-animal food sources listed below.

Vitamin A in Vegan Diet

Carrots, spinach, pumpkins, tomatoes, dark greens, vegan margarines

Vitamin B in Vegan Diet

Nuts, wholegrains, oats, muesli, pulses (peas, beans, lentils), yeast extracts, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, mushrooms and dried fruit.

Vitamin B12 in Vegan Diet

Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that is not readily available from non-animal sources. It is required by the body in very small amounts and can be gained from the following sources: Vitamin B12 supplements, fortified yeast extracts (eg. Marmite), soya milks (look for Vitamin B12 in the ingredients), TVP products, some breakfast cereals – check the labels to see which ones have B12 added to them.

Vegan Vitamin B12
Seaweed and fermented products (eg. tamari, miso and tempeh) may contain some vitamin B12, but they are not considered to be reliable sources of B12 that can be utilised effectively by the body.

Vitamin C in Vegan Diet

Redcurrants, blackcurrants, berries, citrus fruits (e.g. oranges, lemons, grapefruit), green vegetables, potatoes.

Vitamin D in Vegan Diet

Action of sunlight on the skin, vitamin D-fortified foods like vegan margarines, fortified soya milks and vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin E in Vegan Diet

Nuts, seeds, whole grains and flours, vegetable oils

Folate for Vegans

Wheatgerm, raw/lightly-cooked green leafy vegetables (eg. broccoli, spinach), yeast, yeast extracts, nuts, chick peas, green beans, oranges, dates, avocados, tomatoes, whole grains. Many food manufacturers now also fortify white flour, cereals, bread, corn, rice and noodle products with folic acid – check labels for this.

Sources of Minerals in a Vegan Diet

Nuts, seeds, pulses (eg. soya beans, tofu, miso - fermented soybean curd, haricot beans), molasses, carob, parsley, figs (dried), sea vegetables, grains (eg. oatmeal), fortified soya milks. Also, if you live in a hard-water area you’re probably getting some calcium and magnesium from drinking this too.

Iron in Vegan Diet

Nuts, seeds, pulses, grains, dried fruit, sea vegetables, parsley, green leafy vegetables, molasses, miso.

Sources of Iron in Vegan Diet

Zinc in Vegan Diet

Wheatgerm, whole grains (whole wheat bread, rice, oats), nuts, pulses, tofu, miso, peas, parsley, bean sprouts (alfalfa).

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Vegan Diet - A Healthy Diet

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