Short-lived trend or long-term roadmap for a healthier life? Opinions differ when it comes to vegan nutrition. One thing is certain: vegan nutrition, a strict form of vegetarian nutrition, is booming. Vegans eat an exclusively plant-based diet and avoid all animal products such as meat, milk or egg. Foods that come from animals (such as honey and honey products) and additives (such as lecithin from eggs) are also substituted.
Is it healthier to live as a vegan?
Experts agree: vegans do not automatically live healthier lives. However, a well-planned vegan diet is more beneficial to health than the average mixed diet, as the proportion of fibre, fruit and vegetables is significantly higher. The emphasis here is on "well-planned". Vegans have to make sure that their diet is not too one-sided and that they are not missing any important nutrients.
More and more vegan substitutes for meat, milk and the like are intended to help. Here it is particularly worthwhile to pay attention to the list of ingredients, as the foods advertised as healthy often contain large amounts of nutritionally unnecessary additives. Vegans are therefore well advised to take a close look at the topic of nutrition, to pay attention to the intake of critical nutrients and to undergo regular blood checks. Trained professionals such as dieticians can assist in the optimal implementation of a vegan diet.
What vegans should keep in mind
Since vegans leave out entire food groups, they must keep an eye on their supply of important nutrients and choose their food very consciously. Above all, these critical nutrients include protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, iodine, zinc, selenium and vitamins B12 and D. An adequate supply is ensured by the following selection and combinations of foods:
Protein: In principle, animal protein is better absorbed and utilised by our body than vegetable protein. However, skilful combinations of protein sources of plant origin increase the value of the food and it is better absorbed. Good combinations include: Whole grain cereals with pulses (e.g. whole grain bread with lentil spread) or potatoes with pulses (e.g. potato and bean stew).
Omega-3 fatty acids: The intake of high-quality vegetable oils (e.g. rapeseed and linseed oil), as well as nuts and seeds, ensures that the body is sufficiently supplied. Valuable types of wholegrain bread enriched with sunflower seeds or walnuts are recommended.
Calcium: Good sources of this nutrient are dark green vegetables (e.g. kale, broccoli), nuts, legumes and tofu. In addition, calcium-rich mineral water (> 150 mg/l) and fortified foods (e.g. plant drinks) are recommended.
Iron: Again, iron of animal origin is better absorbed by the body. Therefore, in a vegan diet, it is important to combine plant-based iron (found in whole grains, leafy green vegetables and legumes) with vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables. Caution is advised with tea and coffee: The substances they contain impair iron absorption.
Zinc: Is mainly found in whole grains, legumes, nuts and wheat germ.
Iodine: In general, iodised table salt should also be used in vegan cuisine.
Vitamin B12 and D: The vegan diet hardly contains these vitamins at all. They have to be supplied through nutrient preparations – ideally in coordination with the blood count.
Vegan - good for everyone?
Avoiding animal products can positively affect your health in many ways. But this does not apply to everyone. Especially for pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants, children and adolescents, this type of diet is only recommended to a limited extent. Due to the increased nutrient requirements, the risk of nutrient deficiency is very high, which can lead to health impairments.
Following a vegan diet does not always mean eating particularly healthy food, nor does it automatically mean being undersupplied. It is important to pay attention to clever food combinations and sometimes rely on fortified foods. Sufficient fruit and vegetables, mainly whole grain products, high-quality oils, nuts, lots of green vegetables and calcium-rich foods and drinks are the basis of a balanced vegan diet. To counteract any deficiencies that may arise, regular blood analysis by a doctor is advisable. A vegan diet is not recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children and adolescents.
We are using cookies to make it easier for you to use the website. If you continue without changing your setting, you consent to use all cookies on this website. You can change your cookie settings at any time.