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5 FOODS EVERY VEGAN MUST HAVE IN THEIR DIET


5 FOODS EVERY VEGAN MUST HAVE IN THEIR DIET - MUST HAVE VEGAN FOODS

A vegan diet is packed with nutrition and offers you not only peace of mind but great health too. However, if your vegan diet is not planned, like any other diet, you may be prone to deficiencies.

For vegans who want to stay healthy, consuming a nutrient-rich diet is very important. Here are 5 foods that must be part of every vegan diet to ensure you are getting optimum nutrition and are enjoying a lifestyle of abundance!

1. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Vegetables, especially leafy greens, are packed with vitamins and minerals, keep your calories in check and offer a lot of health benefits – other than good skin and healthier body. For example, veggies like celery and carrots are known to naturally whiten your teeth by acting as natural stain removers. These foods increase saliva production, which serves as the mouth's self-cleaning agent. If you have discolored teeth, teeth whitening will help, but you have to remember that a lot of cleaning your teeth is about stimulating that saliva. Their crunch factor works to scrub your teeth clean.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and collards are packed with iron —especially spinach, which has about 6 grams or about one-third of a day's supply. They are also a great source of cancer-fighting antioxidants and are high in vitamin A and folic acid.

Here are three easy ways to get more greens into your diet:
  • Add kale and/or spinach to a smoothie
  • If you don’t like them raw, prepare tasty roasted vegetables with lots of herbs and lemon juice for dinner. It smells divine and tastes delicious
  • Give an interesting twist to your boring salad. Spruce it up with ingredients like cooked beans (chickpeas, kidney beans, gungo peas), mayo and raisins. The salad will not only be loaded with nutrients but will taste great too
Coming to my favorite food – fruits. Who doesn’t like a juicy mango or freshly plucked strawberries? I can’t imagine a day without my banana smoothie.

Most of us think we get our daily fruit intake, but according to several studies, the worst part of our nutritional habits was not eating enough fruits. Just one orange or a banana doesn’t cut for the day. Make sure to add more colors and seasonal fruits in your daily routine. A smoothie is a great way to do that!

Did I forget to mention about avocados? Well, it’s a must-have for every vegan – it really is a superfood!

2. NUTS AND SEEDS

Nuts are one of the most important foods for vegans (except those who are allergic to nuts). Not only do nuts act as great milk and milk products substitutes (imagine life without almond milk, peanut butter, and cashew cheese) but they also have a number of impressive health benefits. After all, they are highly nutritious (no need to worry about protein on your vegan diet anymore, dah!).

Walnuts are packed with antioxidants and omega-3, cashews are rich in copper and magnesium, macadamias are rich in zinc and vitamin E, Brazil nuts are with selenium (a mineral that's been touted for its antioxidant properties) and almonds are not just a source of protein, but they are also high in calcium. Calcium is a key nutrient for healthy bones and strong teeth. And as they are naturally low in sugar, they are a perfect choice for a snack.

In case you’re worried about your weight, let me tell you that while nuts are considered a high-calorie food, research suggests that they may actually help you lose weight. They also help reduce inflammation and manage cholesterol.

How can I forget the seeds – from chia, flax and sesame to pumpkin and melon seeds – they’re all a nutrition powerhouse. Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium. Flaxseeds contain protein, lignans, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. Sesame seeds are a good source of energy due to the high healthy fat content. They contain polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-6, in addition to fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

3. LEGUMES

Legumes or beans contain a number of important macro and micronutrients like protein, iron, zinc, folate, fiber, and potassium. In fact, one cup of beans a day gives you about one-third of your iron and protein and roughly half your fiber.

No more “where will I get my protein from?” question should ever cross your mind now!

Plus, the beans can make your vegan meals so interesting. For example, hummus with your salads or simply using it as a spread on your toast. Adding cooked beans to your salad to make it more filling and tastier, and all that Mexican food – where beans play a dominant role!

4. WHOLE GRAINS AND CEREALS

Whole grains and cereals are good sources of complex carbs, fiber, and iron, as well as B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.

However, don’t over-rely on one type of grain, for example, wheat and rice. Because they can actually act as anti-nutrients. A vegan diet is a diet of abundance not deprivation. So, make sure to incorporate this abundance to your diet. Think buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet, corn, and various other amazing grains to add variety and nutrients on your plate!

5. SUN 

Not technically a food, but sunlight is super important to ensure you are getting your dose of Vitamin D. Deficiency of Vitamin D3 is a common problem in today's lifestyles, not just for vegans but non-vegans too. So if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to make sure you have sufficient levels of D3 incoming in your body and the best way is to get it through sun. Early morning is the best time to get your Vitamin D, you can sit in the sun for 20 minutes every day.
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