March is Nutrition Month.
March is Nutrition Month
These days people are very health conscious, and many are turning to a plant-based diet to improve their health. So many diseases can be prevented by following a vegan diet, that it is not surprising that more people are making the switch. It can be very confusing trying to work out what the best diet is. For many reasons, you can’t go wrong with plants, they are healthful for you and the planet, you can even grow your own on the smallest areas! Ideal in these times of great food insecurity.
There are no nutrients that cannot be gained from a plant-based diet, even the infamous vitamin B12 can be found in sea algae, such as spirulina, nutritional yeast, some fermented foods and in soil bacteria. There is not enough research at this point to know how bioavailable these sources of B12 are, so the medical profession recommends that vegans use a vitamin B12 supplement. It is also worth mentioning that many processed foods are now fortified with B12.
To gain the full benefits of a vegan diet, it is best to eat whole foods. What are they? These are non-processed foods that are in their natural form, such as unhulled grains, non-bleached flours and sugars, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables. Eating a “rainbow” of foods has been considered the best way to give your body the nutrition it needs and deserves.
Eating a variety of plants is key to a healthy plant-based diet, we have a Vegan Food pyramid poster that you can buy to help you keep your vegan diet on track. All humans have a requirement for nutrients and the body does not care where it gets those nutrients from. As a general rule, ensuring that you eat some grains, beans, nuts or seeds, a variety of veggies and fruits every day should mean that you are receiving enough nutrients.
As vegan foods are higher in fibre than animal products, many people do better eating smaller meals more often. Keeping your calories up is vital to ensure good health and well being. It’s important to keep your intake of “good” fats up and most people will benefit from an omega-3 oil such as flaxseed. There is no harm in taking the occasional supplement, particularly of B12. Meanwhile making sure that you eat a variety from the table below will also make sure that you get a good range of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and anti-carcinogenic compounds.
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