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Nutritional Adequacy of Plant Based Diets – Dr. Kanupriya Khanna

You must have heard a lot about veganism these days. Many people wonder if plant based diets are nutritionally adequate for them. Truth is that the nutrients present in plants, such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, etc., help in keeping you healthy.

But before going further, let’s understand a few things about a plant-based diet.

 

What is a plant based diets?

These diets emphasise on fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and beans while eliminating animal products such as meats, dairy, honey and eggs, and all foods that are derived from an animal source.

A plant-based diet is not only a preferred way to promote good health while staying fit and nourished, it is also a healthier way to lose weight. As plants contain necessary nutrients that animal products do not, it boosts your immune system.

 

Knowing what nutrients to be aware of and how to incorporate them into your diet is a crucial component of a well-planned plant based diets.

•Protein – Most vegans consume enough protein to satisfy or even surpass their needs. To achieve your protein requirements, concentrate on including protein-rich foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy in your meals and snacks throughout the day.

•Calcium – There are many plant-based sources of calcium, including kale, broccoli, black beans, almonds, nut and seed butters. Calcium is added to some fortified foods during manufacturing, such as non-dairy milk, orange juice, and some breakfast cereals.

•Iron – This necessary ingredient is important for a variety of bodily processes, including the transportation of oxygen by red blood cells. Iron is found in many plant based such as dates, dried figs, prunes, dark green leafy vegetables, jaggery, beans, finger millet, etc.

•B12 – Plant foods typically do not contain this vitamin. Vegans must add items enriched with vitamin B-12 to their diets or consult their doctor about taking a supplement. Foods like nutritional yeast, morning cereals, meat substitutes, and non-dairy milk are among those enriched with vitamin B-12. To ensure the product is fortified, make sure to check the label!

•Omega 3 – Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be vital since your body cannot produce them; therefore, you must obtain them from foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts and other nuts and seeds.

•Fibre – Plant based diets high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are much more likely to easily provide the quantity and kind of fibre required by your body to maintain a healthy digestive system.

 

What are the health benefits of plant based diets?

1. It lowers your blood pressure –

Hypertension can make people more susceptible to health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Fortunately, what you eat can influence your health. Following a plant-based diet helps lower blood pressure, which lowers your risk of developing these illnesses.

2. Weight loss –

When you go from a diet high in meat to one high in plant-based foods, your risk of obesity declines. In conclusion, even though losing weight isn’t always the main goal, plant eaters typically weigh less.

3. Plant based diets prevent cancer –

Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, grains, beans, nuts and seeds is the greatest method to obtain nutrients that protect against cancer, including fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

4. It reduces cholesterol –

Fatty deposits in the blood caused by high cholesterol can limit blood flow and could result in heart attack, stroke, or heart disease. However, a balanced diet can support maintaining good cholesterol levels. In particular, switching to a diet high in plants instead of animal products can reduce LDL cholesterol by 10 and 15%.

5. It makes your brain strong –

Polyphenols are abundant in fruits and vegetables (aka, the cornerstones of a plant-based diet). They may help reverse cognitive decline and halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

How following a plant-based diet can benefit the environment?

The carbon emissions produced by the meat and dairy industries can be considerably reduced and offset by choosing to adopt a plant-based diet.

Additionally, compared to the meat and dairy industries, the plant business uses less water. To make one pound of tofu, only 302 litres of water are needed as opposed to 3505 litres of water to produce one pound of mutton. Untouched environments can be protected, and less water pollution and use would result from eating plant-based foods.

It was discovered that plant-based diets may increase the world food supply by up to 49% without extending croplands. This method of eating would also help to dramatically lower methane emissions by reducing cattle in the meat and dairy industries.

Overall, eating a plant-based diet is excellent for the Earth as well as for you. If you want to experiment with a plant-based diet, connect with Kanupriya who has been working in this field since 2003. She is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.

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