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5 nutritional tips every vegan should know

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 3/28/2017 Samantha J. Gross

If you have a quick scroll through Instagram or pokes around through aesthetically pleasing food blogs, you'll find that vegan food seems to be an constant theme.

Ever-popular vegan staples like avocado toast, acai bowls and almond milk lattes normalise the trend, and the statistics prove this popularity: the number of vegans in the UK has risen by 360 percent in the past decade.

Although the number of vegans across the UK has soared exponentially in the past decade, those following the diet often find it challenging to maintain balanced meals. Many shops have limited options, and the vegan choices are often filled with carbs and sugar.

According to expert Luciano Venezia, the co-founder of nutrition app EDO, vegans looking to keep their diet must take careful note of the nutrients they get from their food. Here, he shares some tips vegans can follow to maintain the healthiest diet possible:

1. Consume some calcium

Everyone knows that calcium is key to healthy bones, and is a vital player for your growth and development – so it’s essential that we all receive enough. This can be tricky for vegans, as calcium is most commonly consumed through dairy produce such as milk and yoghurt.

But believe it or not, there is a way for vegans to consume calcium, cruelty-free. The mineral is abundant in a wide assortment of green, leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, rocket watercress, kale, broccoli, seaweed, parsley. Calcium can also be found in almonds, chickpeas and kidney beans, as well as fortified foods such as plant pink, calcium-set tofu and fortified orange juice.

2. Thrive on a plant based diet

Many vegans do not dedicate enough time to planning their meals, so end up filling their shopping baskets with easy-to-grab, starchy items – such as pasta, chips and bread. This will do nothing for their health, or their waistline.

Vegans should strive to eat healthier, whole foods to give their body the vital nutrients and antioxidants it needs. Eating lots of plants (the more colourful the better) and including plenty of vegetables, fruits, berries, whole grains and nuts, will keep meal times exciting and make sure that vegans are giving their body the nutrients it needs.

3. Increase your iron absorption

Iron deficiency is common among vegans, because they are not swapping red meat with other foods which provide the mineral.

The best way to prevent the deficiency is by eating plenty of whole grains and legumes, as these are packed with iron. It’s also sensible to consume foods with sources of Vitamin C, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, cabbage and leafy greens, as this dramatically improves the rate at which your body absorbs iron.

4. You can still eat out

Traditionally for vegans, it has been a challenge to find restaurants which offer vegan-friendly foods. But nowadays, leading restaurant chains and even fast-food places are starting to offer vegan options on their menus.

5. Use technology to support your food choices

There are so many ingredients and additives that are not suitable for vegans – and unfortunately not all vegans are aware of them. For example, the additive E1105 is Lysozyme which is almost always extracted from eggs; and not many vegans recognise this. There are also lots of non-vegan wines and beers on the shops shelves which are made using processed animal products.

Today, there are lots of websites, devices and apps which can support and guide vegans with their food choices.

Luciano Venezia is the co-founder of EDO app

© Provided by Evening Standard Limited © Provided by Evening Standard Limited

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