Diets based on plant-based foods are not always healthy as we think, but (as in any diet) require planning. Therefore, we leave 15 keys to a vegan and healthy diet.
Eating only plant foods can put at risk the share of many nutrients that predominate and have greater availability of animal foods. We must also know that not everything vegan is healthy.
Therefore, we leave the following tips to make the vegan diet truly healthy:
Base the diet on real foods and not on products
In any diet, we recommend moving away from ultra-processed or highly industrialized foods because they are of lower nutritional quality and usually have more concentrated calories.
Therefore, a frequent mistake is to believe that a vegan commercial snack is healthier than one that is not 100% vegetable, as it is still a processed product that does not benefit the diet or the health of the body.
So, it is advisable to base the diet on real, fresh, seasonal, and labelless foods; limiting whenever possible products or ultra-processed.
Eat at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables
Although we might think that vegans eat enough fruits and vegetables, this is not always the case, so we recommend at least five daily servings of these foods that offer so many benefits to the body.
With this minimum intake, we guarantee the presence in the diet of nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, carotenes, vitamin A and other advantageous components such as antioxidants.
Choose whole grains instead of refined
The cereals are often the basis of any diet, and refined specimens that are assimilated quickly are not advisable if we seek health care.
Thus, we recommend choosing whole grains instead of refined flours and derivatives that are excessively addictive and can lead to metabolic diseases.
Include legumes in the usual diet
The vegetables in vegan diets have great benefits because on one hand are one excellent source of carbohydrate quality and secondly, provide protein plant in appreciable quantities.
As if that were not enough, many of them are great sources of vegetable iron and other quality micronutrients in addition to fiber, so their inclusion in any type of diet is beneficial for the body.
Choose healthy fat sources
In vegan diets (as in others), we can find very advantageous fats such as unsaturated fatty acids and within these omega 3 , and also, saturated fats or trans fats.
The latter should be avoided in the daily diet while we recommend prioritizing the intake of sources of healthy fats such as seeds, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, olives, peanuts, or soybeans.
Include protein plant foods
Good quality proteins are one of the nutrients that predominate in animal foods. However, we can perfectly cover their share by choosing protein foods of plant origin such as dried seaweed, textured soybeans, soy flour, beans, beans, peanuts, and peanut butter, among others.
In addition, to obtain all the essential amino acids and thus ensure that proteins fulfill their function of repairing and creating new structures, it is recommended to combine cereals and legumes in the diet, or seeds, nuts, and cereals that together allow us to obtain High-quality protein in a vegan diet.
Avoid free or added sugar
In addition to avoiding refined flours, if we are looking for a quality diet it is important to recognize and minimize free or added sugar and everything that contains it.
Table sugar, brown or integral, syrups, panela, syrups, fruit juices, and everything that includes it represent sources of sugars of poor quality, which are absorbed quickly in the body, can generate addiction and at the same time, harm health If we abuse your intake.
Therefore, it is best to consume natural sugars using fresh fruits and vegetables, dehydrated fruits, or the like. Or, use sweeteners such as stevia to sweeten preparations.
Add ingredients rich in vegetable iron to the diet
Another critical nutrient in vegans is iron, whose absorption is superior when derived from the food of animal origin.
To cover the quota of this mineral, we recommend choosing foods rich in vegetable iron and also combining them with vitamin C or with sources of carotenes and vitamin A to increase the absorption rate.
Include sources of vegetable calcium in the diet
With calcium it happens similarly to iron, its absorption rate or availability is higher in some foods of animal origin such as dairy.
Therefore, we recommend choosing good sources of calcium of vegetable origins such as seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, cabbage, certain dried herbs and spices such as oregano or thyme, or legumes such as chickpeas, among other foods.
Its absorption can be improved with vitamin D, vitamin C, and also, with the acidity of fruits for example.
Supplement with vitamin B12
Vitamin B 12 is a fundamental nutrient to prevent nutritional anemias and predominates in foods of animal origin.
While there are plant foods that provide this vitamin, our body cannot take advantage of it as it does with animal sources. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with a health professional and supplement vitamin B 12 to ensure the fee we need.
Consider enriched foods
To obtain nutrients that are scarce in vegan diets such as vitamin D, calcium, iron, or others, fortified foods can be very useful.
Therefore, when we are going to buy a vegetable drink, for example, we can consider an option enriched with some of the nutrients mentioned above if in our diet we do not have enough sources of them.
Although they are not always useful, in some cases fortified foods can be helpful in preventing nutritional deficiencies.
Many vegan preparations are not as healthy as we think, and as in all types of diets, we recommend avoiding fats that add fat and calories to the diet as well as can cause the loss of good nutrients.
Therefore, fried vegetables, fried and salted nuts or other similar preparations, it is better to reduce them to the maximum and replace them, choose baked, grilled or toasted options.
Minimize alcohol intake
Although there are options not suitable for vegans, there are also 100% vegetable alternatives that concentrate a high amount of alcohol inside.
Since alcohol is not safe even in a small dose but is harmful to the body, we recommend reducing its intake to the maximum and, on the contrary, opting for options without alcohol, cocktails reduced in sugar and without alcohol or flavored waters in its replacement