A Vegan Diet: The Good and The Bad

The Vegan diet is ideal for health conscious individuals and animal rights activists. This life choice eschews the consumption of animal products. Eating red meat, eggs, dairy, fish, fowl, honey and soy are not in favor. Additionally, labels on processed foods should be consulted to ensure no animal by-product are in the item.

The Vegan diet does offer some health benefits. This type of meal plan lowers cholesterol, decreases blood pressure and encourages weight control. The general population afflicted with heart disease has had positive results with this diet. That said, there are possible pitfalls to be addressed.

Mineral absorption is essential for the human body to function. Omitting red meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy from the diet, can limit the body’s ability to store and use Iron, Zinc, and Calcium. These minerals build red blood cells necessary to carry oxygen through the body. Proper oxygen flow aids in the prevention of fatigue and dizziness. Zinc fosters a healthy immune system that promotes healing of wounds and fighting infections. Adequate Calcium builds healthy bones and delays or prevents the beginning of osteoporosis.

Vitamins are part of a healthy body. The Vegan diet limits the opportunity for an adequate intake of Vitamin D. This vitamin is in oily fish, egg yolks, fowl and soy products such as soy milk. Vitamin D aids the body in absorbing calcium. Depleted amounts in the body can lead to depression, fatigue, and an increased chance of the development of osteoporosis. Spending a few minutes a day in direct sunlight is a viable source of Vitamin D, but is not an adequate source alone due to the possible development of skin cancer. Food sources are necessary to help ascertain the body has enough of this vitamin.

Vitamin B-12 is the nutrient that supports red blood cells, DNA synthesis, nerve function and mental clarity. This nutrient’s food sources are fish, seafood, red meat, fowl, and eggs. Vitamin B-12 deficiency or pernicious anemia can increase the chance of an occurrence of depression. Confusion, muscle weakness, tingling in the hands and feet, pale skin, and an irregular heartbeat is also warning signs.

It is virtually impossible to encompass all vitamin and mineral needs by diet alone. Supplements can be in the form of a multivitamin or individual vitamins that target a particular area. Any supplement enhancement or diet plan should be monitored and approved by a licensed medical provider.

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