Going vegan can be a beneficial choice, both for your own body and for the environment. However, many questions have been repeatedly raised about the sustainability and balanced nutrition of a vegan diet. After all, can plants really fill the percentage of proteins, minerals like iron, zinc and, above all, the different types and subgroups of vitamins?
Getting the required dose of vitamins such as vitamin B12, vitamin D3 and more when you are strictly vegan can be difficult. Even the Nutrition and Dietetics Academy warned of major vitamin B12 deficiencies that veganism and vegetarianism can cause. This is a great time to check your current diet and add some necessary nutrients that it might be lacking. Here are some suggestions for vegan and vitamin-rich foods.
Enriched nutritional yeast (the ultimate source of riboflavin)
Fortification is the process of adding more micronutrients to foods to increase their nutritional value, and these fortified foods are probably the most abundant source of vitamins B12 and D. Whether you’re all for it or against it, we can all agree that consuming them in the right amounts can really help your vegan diet to buckle the buckle.
What makes nutritional yeast perfect for vegans, however, isn’t just its high vitamin B12 content. Nutritional yeast is specifically grown as a food product and not as a leavening or stirring agent for bread and alcohol. The yeast is cooked before being made into edible flakes, giving it a completely different composition and flavor profile than regular yeast.
Enriched nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of all nine essential amino acids, as well as a healthy dose of iron and protein. It strengthens your blood cells, facilitates the repair function of your tissues and helps prevent anemia. It’s commonly used as a vegan cheese substitute for vegan foods, so feel free to add a healthy sprinkle of it on top of your meals for a delicious cheesy bite.
Alfalfa (rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins)
Alfalfa is a legume primarily known as a premium pet food rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein, but you would be pleasantly surprised to know that this superfood can be consumed by humans as well. Alfalfa has a long history as a medicinal herb, but lately it has become vegans’ ultimate source of some rare and essential nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, copper, and vitamins B12, C, and K. .
Sweet potatoes (packed with protein and vitamins A, C and B6)
Sweet potatoes have the high starch content of normal potatoes and some health benefits of their own. They are surprisingly very nutritious, containing vitamins A, C and B6. They also contain copper, manganese, fiber and protein, making them the ultimate addition to any healthy vegan diet. As a bonus, they are also known to improve your vision and brain function.
Brussels sprouts (low in calories, high in vitamins K, C and A)
If you love Brussels sprouts, you’ll be happy to know that these greens are amazing for your body and packed with nutrients. They are also quite filling, even though they are very low in calories. This means that if you want to lose weight, you absolutely must include Brussels sprouts in your diet.
In terms of nutritional values, Brussels sprouts are known to be a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain manganese, a mineral that strengthens bones and connective tissues and improves blood clotting, which is ideal for diabetics.
Mushrooms (Delicious pockets of Vitamin D)
Vitamin D is hard to find in nature, which is why mushrooms are all the more fascinating. Wild-grown mushrooms are packed with vitamin D because their tissues absorb sunlight like our bodies do. Vegan diets are often severely lacking in vitamin D, especially if they don’t include fortified foods, as it’s usually only found in dairy products.
Vitamin D deficiency first manifests as weakened bones that lead to conditions such as osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children. If you are an adult over the age of 30, it is extremely important that you test your vitamin D to ensure that your bones are in good shape and that you are getting the required dose of nutrient.
If you’re wondering where to start, maitake and shiitake mushrooms — especially those that come from the wild — are excellent sources of vitamin D. You can also dry store-bought mushrooms in the sun for a similar effect.
Live your healthiest vegan life
Determining which nutrients your diet lacks can help you identify the root cause of many health issues you may be facing and, in turn, effectively correct them. And if you are vegan, this step is all the more important. Don’t be afraid to question and check your diet from time to time either, and seek advice from a dietitian to ensure you’re eating the healthiest meals possible.