Vegan Nutrition Facts To Know Before Becoming A Vegan
You've heard the word 'vegan nutrition' thrown around a lot, but what does it mean? It's a way of eating that excludes all animal-based products. So, no meat or dairy. You might be wondering: how can someone survive without these things? It turns out you can get everything you need from a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
Even if you're not a vegetarian or vegan yet (or maybe never will be), there are still plenty of benefits to eating more plant-based foods—not only for your health and well-being but also for the environment and animals too.
Before you become a vegan, read these important facts about nutrition
Here are some nutrition facts about plant-based diets that might convince you to try something new this week.
1) Plant-based diets are more eco-friendly
As a vegan, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint by cutting out meat and dairy products. The production of these products requires a lot of energy and resources. For example, it takes 1-2 acres to produce enough food for one cow per year. That's more than 100 times what it takes to feed an average person with plant-based foods.
If you want to get technical about it: animal agriculture contributes about 18 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Since cows are ruminants, which means they ferment their food in their stomachs before digesting it - this process creates methane gas as well as nitrous oxide (N20), which is 300 times more potent than CO2 in warming our planet over time.
2) Plant-based diets are healthy for the planet
If you're concerned about the environment, a plant-based diet can be an important part of reducing your carbon footprint. A meat-centric diet requires more resources than a plant-based one, as raising animals for food requires more land, water and energy than growing plants for human consumption.
Additionally, studies show that people who eat vegan diets have lower rates of obesity and chronic disease. This means they have smaller health care bills than those who eat meat or dairy products regularly.
The environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet are often cited by those who choose to eat vegan. However, the decision to go meatless can be challenging for those who don't make it part of their routine.
3) Plant-based diets are healthy for you
Vegan diets are high in fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Plant-based foods are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Vegan diets also tend to be higher in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients such as magnesium (important for bone health), potassium (which helps lower blood pressure), and folic acid (which helps prevent birth defects).
Vegan diets typically include less sodium than nonvegetarian diets because plant foods don't contain added salt or other sources of sodium like animal products do and they're often high in potassium instead!
4) Nutrient deficiencies are a concern in any diet
Vitamin B12 is important for the nervous system, and iron helps transport oxygen throughout your body. Calcium and zinc are needed to build strong bones and teeth, while protein helps you feel full longer so you're less likely to overeat.
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
While it's true that all these nutrients are found in plant foods (and some of them are easier for vegans who don't eat meat or dairy products).
Some people may need supplements if their diets aren't balanced enough especially if they don't eat any fortified foods like breakfast cereals or nutritional yeast flakes.
5) Vegans can get all their essential amino acids from a variety of foods
The protein in your body is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for all proteins. There are nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own and must get from food.
- Leucine (also known as L-leucine)
- Methionine + cysteine
- Phenylalanine + tyrosine
Vegans can get all these essential amino acids from a variety of plant foods like legumes (chickpeas), nuts, seeds and soy products like tofu or edamame beans. In fact, vegans tend to consume more protein than non-vegetarians because they tend to eat higher amounts of calories overall.
6) Plant-based protein is just as satiating as animal protein
A study from 2013 found that when participants ate lentils instead of beef, they felt fuller and had a lower desire for sweet foods afterwards.
Plant-based proteins also tend to have a higher fiber content than their animal counterparts, which can help keep you full for longer periods.
We know this because there has been some research done on the subject. And the results are pretty clear: plant-based proteins are just as satiating (or even more so!) than their animal counterparts.
A healthy plant-based diet includes more than just fruits and veggies
It can also help you live longer by reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer.
However, there are some things to consider when following a vegan diet because it doesn't include any animal products (meat, dairy or eggs). Vegans need to make sure they get enough calcium or vitamin D through fortified foods like soy milk or cereals made with calcium-fortified flour or supplements if necessary.