Nutritionally Fit Vegans

Veganism has recently become a popular diet. Many choose veganism for animal rights and/or for health reasons. How can vegans be even fitter? A team of international scientists, including an Adelaide scientist, this year published a large scale nutrient analysis of the diets of 20 year old males including those who are on a vegan diet. This comprehensive study examined the omnivore (as the control diet), vegetarian, strict vegetarian (vegan) and methionine restricted diets (predominantly plant-based).

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The researchers categorized foods into their ‘nutritional fitness’.  The more nutritionally fit a food has been categorized, the more it satisfied the daily nutritional requirements. Every diet had some kind of nutrient issue or deficiency. Some of their recommended  ‘nutritionally fit’ foods, are suitable for vegans.

Anyone who is not vegan can happily delight away with these tasty foods too. These fit foods included chia seeds, almonds, lima beans, portobello mushrooms (UV treated) and also the delicious cherimoya (food of the Inca people). Other fit foods included dandelion greens, red leaf lettuce, sun-dried hot chilli peppers, paprika, and the tops of young green onions.

When preparing these foods it is important to remember that cooking can destroy vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and E, thiamin, and folate. Vegans need vitamin B12 supplements because no food in the vegan diet satisfies daily requirements. Chia seeds can also be soaked for hours before eating and could be suitable for people with with diverticulitis.

Please speak to your doctor or dietitian for advice before changing your diet. Stay tuned for blogs on methoinine-restriction, and important vitamins and minerals.

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Read the full, open access paper here: