Things to Pay Attention to When Switching to a Vegan Diet

Things to Pay Attention to When Switching to a Vegan Diet

Vegan diet bases on exclusively plant-based foods. In addition to avoiding meat, vegans also do not eat dairy products, fish, eggs and any other foods that contains animal-based ingredients. Consumption of exclusively plant-based foods has been shown to offer several health benefits including a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer. Although vegan diet is often criticised for being too radical and unhealthy, it can actually helps improve your health. Most health care providers do not recommend a vegan diet but they also do not advice against it. However, there are a few things that should be paid attention to if you decide to eat exclusively plant-based foods.

Humans are omnivores which means that our bodies depend on nutrients that are obtained from both animal- and plant-based foods. Vegetarians who do not eat meat and meat products but eat animal-based foods usually do not have problems with nutrient deficiency because they obtain all the necessary nutrients from dairy products, eggs, fish and other animal-based foods. Vegans, on the other hand, need to be very careful in order to avoid nutrient deficiency as some nutrients such as vitamin B12 in found only in foods of animal sources. In order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency which can lead to blindness and anaemia, vegans should eat foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 such as fortified soy milk or/and take vitamin B12 supplements. Other nutrients including proteins can be obtained in healthy amounts from foods of plant sources but it is crucial to eat a diverse and nutritionally balanced diet.

In addition to eating a nutritionally balanced diet and taking vitamin B12 supplements, vegans should also choose their fruits and vegetables carefully. Unfortunately, most fruits and vegetables are not as healthy as they are supposed to be. Firstly, most of them are produced by using conventional methods which translates into huge amounts of pesticides and a number of other dubious chemicals. These, however, do not just seriously pollute the environment but are in certain extent also found in food products intended for human consumption. They are supposed to be safe but they most certainly cannot be good for human health. Furthermore, some of these chemicals cannot be washed or peeled off.

But most conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are not only treated with chemicals while they are growing but after being harvested as well. They are typically treated with various preservatives in order to extend their shelf life which is controversial for two reasons. Firstly, more chemicals are added to fruits and vegetables and secondly, they typically have a lower nutritional value. This is due to the fact that the nutrient content begins to decline as soon as they are harvested. And the longer they remain uneaten the less nutrients they contain which can be very problematic for vegans who exclusively depend on nutrients obtained from plant-based foods. For that reason it is a lot better and healthier to choose organic fruits and vegetables which are produced without the use of chemicals both during growth and after harvest. As a result, they contain no chemical residues and have a higher nutritional value because they need to be eaten sooner.

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