Adopting a vegan diet is becoming more and more commonplace, and people from all walks of life are making the change, whether for health reasons, animal welfare or the plant. A key question asked by many who are interested: is a vegan diet actually healthy?
The straightforward answer is that yes, it definitely can be. However, as with any diet, there are various different ways to follow it and they aren’t all necessarily beneficial. For example, you could eat nothing but refined carbohydrates on a vegan diet, but that wouldn’t necessarily be healthy. So, the importance of a balanced vegan diet, like any diet, remains essential.
What are the Health Benefits if it’s Done Right?
If you are able to consume a balanced vegan diet it can be really beneficial for your health. One major benefit of a plant-based diet is that they are typically filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains which are great for your overall health, are satiating and typically, lower in sugar, meaning a more stable blood sugar levels throughout the day and less binges; so people trying to lose weight might find it beneficial switching to a vegan diet.
The increased fruit & vegetables intake in a vegan diet, whilst ensuring you get your recommended 5 a day, more importantly means more fibre and antioxidants, which enables your body, to better regulate itself and maintain a healthy digestive system.
As with most things, too much of a good thing, can also be bad, it is important to still ensure you are getting a balance of all food groups, and not overeating one particular type of food. Your body might also take a little time adjusting to an increase of fibre if you’re switching your diet completely.
How to Eat a Balanced Vegan Diet
The key to eating a balanced and healthy vegan diet is to consume a wide and varied selection of food. Vegetables are of course a staple of a vegan diet, but it is also important include foods such as: wholegrains, fortified nut/soy milks, beans, peas and lentils.
As previously mentioned, vegan diets typically contain lots of fruit and vegetables which are naturally good sources of fibre. However, it’s vital to ensure you consume the recommended amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats as well as vitamins and minerals. Meat-free sources of protein include tofu and beans, and it is a good idea to research other plant-based alternatives to learn how to maintain a balanced vegan diet.
There are certain nutrients that can be missing or more difficult to get from a vegan diet including: protein, B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, iodine and omega 3. It can be difficult to find plant-based alternatives for all these nutrients, so it can be better to use a supplement such as Vegan Complete which covers most of the deficiencies.