Adherents of vegan and vegetarian diets are often encouraged to follow them based on their potential he alth benefits
But in the past, nutritionists were worried that these diets could not adequately meet the nutritional needs of humans, writes medicalnewstoday.com
Protein is an essential nutrient that people are most concerned about when considering switching to a plant-based diet. Studies have found that eating a vegan diet can also lead to other nutrient deficiencies.
Vegans do not eat red meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, eggs, honey, or foods containing these or other animal products. Currently, approximately 2% of the US population is classified as vegan. Why should they focus on protein?
People who consume only vegetarian foods and no animal products do not have direct access to complete dietary proteins. As a result, vegans must pay attention to their diet to ensure that it contains enough protein.
Protein is one of the main building blocks of the human body
It is present in the cells of the body and plays a role in most key bodily functions. Its roles include maintaining muscles and bones, supporting the immune system, and transporting oxygen in the blood.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, the recommended protein intake is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. Pregnant or nursing mothers should consume over 71 grams of protein.
According to the advice of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, every day people should consume 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. From there, they add that vegans can take 0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, because plant proteins are less digestible by the body than animal proteins.
Experts encourage people following a vegetarian diet to eat a variety of plant proteins at the same time to get enough complete protein in their diet.
The following vegan foods are good sources of protein: Tofu, soy milk, soy burger, lentils, seitan or wheat gluten, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, black beans, kidney beans, red beans, chickpeas, green peas, peanut butter, almonds, almond butter, whole grain breads, pasta, bulgur, brown rice, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, artichokes, oats, asparagus.
Foods with vitamins B12 and D
The body needs vitamin B12 to restore red blood cells and keep the nervous system functioning.
This vitamin is also essential for proper neurological development in infants. According to experts, the recommended dose of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms for men and women. For pregnant women, the norm is 2.6 micrograms, and for lactating women - 2.8 micrograms.
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in foods from animal sources, such as shellfish, liver and dairy products.
People who eat only vegetarian foods have two options to ensure they are consuming enough of these vital nutrients. They can either eat foods that manufacturers have fortified with vitamin B12 or take an appropriate nutritional supplement.
Packaged breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast, soy milk and some meat substitutes often have added vitamin B12. The amount of vitamin B12 in each serving can vary from product to product, so it is important to check the information on food labels.
Vitamin D helps maintain he althy and strong bones, the immune and neuromuscular systems, and reduces inflammation. As with vitamin B12, vitamin D is found primarily in foods from animal sources, although mushrooms are also rich in it. Doses for vitamin D are 600 international units for people aged 1-70 and 800 for those over 70.
People often have to take food supplements with this vitamin, because they don't spend enough time outdoors and have serious deficiencies of it.