Veganism

Veganism has grown in popularity over the last 25 years; according to the Vegan Society, the number of people going vegan has risen by an incredible %. A stricter version of vegetarianism, vegans consume no animal products whatsoever; including eggs, dairy products or honey. Consequently, they typically eat more vegetables and less saturated fat. Growing evidence suggests this means vegans are less likely to be obese or suffer from high blood pressure or cholesterol, which in turn reduces their risk of developing heart disease and some cancers (American Dietetic Association 1997; AICR 1997; Bingham 1999; Key et al. 1999a; Key et al. 1999b; DHHS 2000; Giskes et al. 2002; Lea & Worsley 2003; Campbell 2005; Cross et al. 2007; World Cancer Research Fund 2007; Craig & Mangels 2009).

Alongside the potential health benefits, people are choosing to go vegan for many reasons; including animal rights and ethical issues, as well as religious beliefs, monetary savings and environmental concerns. It’s also much easier to be a vegan than it was 10 years ago! Many restaurants and cafes now cater for vegans on their menus, and supermarkets are stocking a lot more vegan produce. Nevertheless, before becoming a vegan, there's a few things to consider.

 

Missing micronutrients 

Eliminating all animal products increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, if you’re vegan, it’s important that you plan your meals carefully so that you’re consuming enough macro and micronutrients. For example, vegans are at risk of becoming deficient in calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and essential omega-3 fatty acids. This in turn puts them at an increased risk of conditions such as anaemia and osteoporosis (Weaver & Plawecki 1994; Weaver et al. 1999).

 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can only be naturally obtained from animal products. Vegans therefore must rely on foods that are fortified with B12 including some plant milks, soy products and breakfast cereals. As this often isn’t enough on its own, taking one 1.5 microgram B12 supplement daily can prevent

 

Iron  

Like B12, animal sources provide the richest and most bioavailable source of iron. Naturally occurring chemicals called phytates and oxalates in plant products limit the abundance and bioavailability of iron. However, cooking makes the iron become more bioavailable as it removes some of these chemicals. Another way to improve bioavailability of iron in plant sources (for example green leafy veg and beans) is eating them with foods high in vitamin C (for example citrus fruits and berries).

 

Calcium

Most of us obtain our calcium from milk and other dairy products. However, good sources also include kale, soybeans, broccoli and almonds. Vegans can incorporate these foods into their diet to get their recommended daily intake of calcium. In fact, certain plant sources are also rich in magnesium, which can aid calcium absorption.

 

Omega-3s 

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential for brain and cardiovascular health, especially ALA, EPA and DHA. ALA is usually found in plant sources (for example flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts) whilst DHA and EPA and generally found in animal sources (such as oily fish). Whilst some ALA is converted in the body to EPA and DHA, the conversion rate is low, so regular intake is required.

 

Veganism is a popular lifestyle choice; when carefully planned, it could reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases as well as improve the health of the planet and save you money. If you’re vegan or considering trying it out, use the above information as a guide to optimise your chances of getting everything your body needs. 

 

  1. Start Me Cocoa breakfast blend front
    Breakfast Blend
    BOX OF 8
    A comforting vegan smoothie treat with cocoa, apple, banana, oats, barley & no added sugar.
    £14.99
  2. Boost Me Ginger energy blend front
    Energy Blend
    BOX OF 8
    Vegan ready-made smoothies - a blend of ginger, apple, banana, kiwi & avocado. No added sugar.
    £14.99
  3. Replenish Me Spirulina post-workout blend front
    Recharge Blend
    BOX OF 8
    Delicious vegan smoothies packed with spirulina, pear, apple, banana, almond & lemon. No added sugar.
    £14.99
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