Veganism is a practice that aims to eliminate as far as possible all forms of animal exploitation, Even if that is your fur coat. Veganism, at first, was just bound to the ideology of the animal rights movement, but now the scenario is changed. Veganism is not only related to diet. It’s’ related to one’s identity, lifestyle, and ethics. Among many other practices, it involves meat, poultry, dairy products, and other animal-derived food products. In recent years, the vegan movement and diet have gained high popularity due to the consequences for animals, the environment, and health.
According to researchers, the vegan trend is more common among young women. Weight control is one o the many fitness or other latent causes people worry about. The growth of the plant-based diet has been encouraged by social media. Veganism is becoming able and is also acknowledged in sports and the health and fitness industry. Celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Ellen DeGeneres are some well-known personalities who don’t eat animal products. The hashtag #vegan has over 87 million posts on Instagram.
In the research conducted by the Vegan Society, born in 2018, there are around 600,000 vegans in Great Britain. According to research from Mintel, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, more people have been attracted to a vegan diet. Supermarkets focus on opening vegan sections to keep up with consumers’ food choices. Interest in vegetarian and vegan products shows no sign of slowing down, as retail sales are expected to rise more and more by 2021. Animal welfare and environmental concerns were also big motivators. Climate change has been humankind’s greatest challenge and the world’s gravest environmental threat. Veganism is the best way to reduce carbon emissions.
One popular misconception about vegan diets is that they do not supply the body with the necessary vitamins and minerals. Vegan diets have less saturated fat and cholesterol and more dietary fiber than most vegetarian diets. It is associated with many health benefits due to its higher fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, many phytochemicals, and a higher unsaturated fat content. Vegans are healthier, have lower serum cholesterol, and have lower blood pressure, which lowers their risk of heart failure. However, avoiding all animal products raises the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients of particular concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12, Vitamin D, Calcium, Zinc, and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Vitamin B12 helps perform various bodily processes like protein metabolism and the formation of red blood cells that help transport oxygen in the blood. It also plays a crucial role in the health of your nervous system. Too little vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, nervous system damage, infertility, and bone and heart-related disease. The daily recommended intake is 2.4 mcg per day for adults. The only scientifically proven way for vegans to reach these levels is by consuming B12-fortified foods or taking a vitamin B12 supplement. B12-fortified foods include plant milk, soy products, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause health problems like weak immune symptoms, bones, and hair loss. Getting enodailymin D daily can be challenging if you eat a vegan diet. The best vegan diet for vitamin D is mushrooms, fortified soy milk, and nondairy beverages. Taking supplements will help to reach the level. Still, we must be careful at selecting vegan-friendly supplements as all vitamin D supplements may not be vegan-friendly, so brand research is needed before buying a supplement. To enhance Vitamin D absorption, taking supplements with meals is recommended.
Calcium and Zinc
Calcium is needed to perform various bones and muscle-related functions, like transmitting a nerve signal for muscle contractions in the body, and also helps to prevent osteoporosis in old age people. Moreover, this mineral plays a vital role in releasing enzymes and hormones in the body. As an adult vegan, you should consume 1000 mg of calcium daily. Foods like almonds, Brazil nuts, Pseudocereals, etc., are rich in calcium. Incorporating calcium-rich foods into your meals is needed to prevent calcium deficiency in the body. Moreover, implementing fermentation/sprouting methods to the grains and cereals helps promote calcium absorption in the body. We need to ensure we include adequate amounts of vitamin D in our diet because vitamin D affects the absorption and excretion of calcium. If you supplement vitamin D, you should take it as recommended by a nutritionist, as too much vitamin D can result in calcium oversupply, which increases the risk of kidney stones.
Zinc is an essential mineral for metabolism, immune function, and body cell repair. Inadequate zinc intake can cause developmental issues, hair loss, diarrhea, and slow wound healing. The RDA for zinc is currently set at 8–11 mg per day for adults 8–11 mg per day. Although a few plant foods have high zinc content, absorption is restricted due to antinutritional factors such as phytate. Zinc is abundant in whole grains, wheat germ, tofu, sprouted bread, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Soaking and sprouting tend to increase zinc content, and fermented foods like tempeh and miso seem to help absorption. Vegans should prioritize zinc-rich diets, but those with low zinc levels in their blood should supplement daily. Supplements containing zinc gluconate or zinc citrate may be taken regularly at the prescribed dosage.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids an essetoart to the diet as they prevent and manage heart disease. It lowers blood pressure, reduces triglycerides, and prevents certain cardiac arrests. The body can’t’ produce omega-3 fatty acids, so we should depend on other sources; for vegans, the best plant sources for omega-3 fatty acids are Chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, Algal oil, Hemp seeds, Walnuts, Flax seeds, etc. You don’t’ need to worry about consuming fish oils to get omega-3 fatty acids few grams of flax seeds will provide enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet if you are vegan. Recommendations for total omega-3 intake as reference daily intake (RDI) are s 250–500 mg.