Exercise and Vegan diet : Increase the nutritional value
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Fellowship in Neurological Rehabilitation, BPTh/BPT
11 years experience
Diet and exercise make up two primary ways to build a healthy lifestyle. A typical vegan diet includes grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils), seeds and nuts.A healthy vegan diet need proper planning to get enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins D and B12 and omega-3 fats from foods or supplements.
However, for athletes or anyone interested in being physically active on a regular basis, there may be concerns about getting adequate nutrients such as protein to fuel performance and build muscle.
Since vegetarians consume more plant foods on a regular basis, the absorption of several nutrients may be reduced
If you are a vegetarian, READ on for some advice on getting the balance right and for directions on potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies to look out.
a) Protein is important for building and keeping muscles and red blood cells healthy. Sources of protein include:
*soy and soy products like tofu, tempeh and fortified soy beverages
dried beans (kidney, black and white beans),
*peas (chickpeas and black-eyed peas) and lentils (red, brown and green lentils)
*grains (quinoa, brown rice, bulgur and oatmeal)
*nuts, nut butters (hazelnuts and almond butter) and seeds (sesame and sunflower)
*peanuts and peanut butter.
a) Iron helps carry oxygen to different parts of the body.
b) Vegans need about twice as much dietary iron as non-vegetarians because the iron from plant foods (non-heme iron) isn’t as well absorbed as the iron from animal foods (heme iron).
*some nuts and seeds like cashews, almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds
* prune juice and dried apricots
*vegetables like cooked spinach, kale and potatoes with their skins
* black strap molasses.
d) Caution :
* Iron from vegetarian sources is better absorbed when eaten with vitamin-C rich foods.
* Also remember some produce such as caffeine can inhibit iron absorption. So try and delay that after after-dinner coffee for at least 30 minutes.
3) Vitamin B2
a) It is responsible for a range of bodily functions such as maintaining healthy eyes, skin, and nervous system.
b) sources: most cereals, mushrooms, milk, pumpkin, sesame seeds, and wheat germ
* It is also vital for iron absorption and the development of red blood cells and anabolic reactions in the body. .
4) Vitamin D
a) Vitamin D helps the body to absorb and use calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth.
b) Sources of vitamin D include: The recommended daily amount is approximately 10 micrograms and can be found in: soya milk, butter, eggs, soya cheeses, yoghurt.
c) It is also well-known that we can absorb vitamin D from the rays of the sun. Gain sufficient ‘lux’ from natural light on a daily basis.
a) helps bones to grow and stay healthy. It also helps muscles to contract, including making the heart beat.
b) sources: protein rich soya milk, yoghurts and cheeses.
*Other good calcium sources include nuts, seeds, figs, rhubarb and a range of beans.
*soy yogurt, fortified soy beverages and other fortified non-dairy beverages like rice and almond beverage
a) Zinc is needed for growth and development. It also helps strengthen the immune system and heal wounds.
*pulses, wheat germ, whole grains,fortified cereals and whole wheat bread
*some nuts like pecans and cashews and their butters like cashew butter
*peanuts and peanut butter
*pumpkin seeds and sesame seed butter (tahini).
7) Omega-3 fats
a) important for eye, nerve and brain development and are helpful in preventing heart disease.
*oils like canola, flaxseed, walnut and soybean
*soybeans, tofu and walnuts.
8) Vitamin B12
a) plays a role in boosting immune function.
b) You only need to find a few micrograms on a daily basis in order to get sufficient vitamin B12.
c) Sources: soya milk, cheeses, yeast extract, vegetable stock and yoghurts.
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