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Plant-based diets – fad or trend?

Monday January 7, 2019
Plant-based diets – fad or trend?

Plant-based lifestyle, or veganism, is becoming one of Britain’s fastest growing trends. There are now more than half a million vegans in Britain, according to research commissioned by The Vegan Society. The study found there are 600,000 people following a vegan diet in Great Britain in 2018, or 1.16% of the population. This is double the number of 276,000 vegans (0.46%) in 2016. *


But why the move to veganism? Concerns over animal welfare, the environment, clear labelling, increased accessibility to plant-based alternatives to dairy food and social media have all helped shift attitudes.

 

What is a vegan?


Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use or consume other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.

 

But a vegan restricted diet can cause nutritional deficiencies in calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and zinc. If a rich and varied diet of colourful foods is consumed every day, deficiencies can be avoided with the addition of a simple multivitamin and mineral supplement.

 

What are the benefits of B12 and other vegan specific supplements?


B12 plays an important role in energy production, cognitive functioning, and neuralgia, but it is predominately found in animal products such as liver, shellfish, and red meats.

 

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) are group of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids which are also important for health and vitality. Research supports a central role for DHA in normal brain and visual functioning, and both EPA and DHA have been linked to regular heart functioning, as well as baby development during pregnancy. Fish provides a good source of EPA and DHA, meanwhile alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in flaxseeds and walnuts, can be converted into EPA and DHA in the body, however this process can be limited.

 

Vegans are a high-risk group for developing iron deficiency, especially women of menstruating age. The majority of iron is found in meat products, however, iron can be found in some plant products such as dark leafy vegetables and dried fruits. Symptoms of anaemia commonly include fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath and hair loss.  

 

This is why it is important for vegans to additionally nourish their diet with these nutrients through vegan-friendly supplements, so that the correct therapeutic levels are reached in the body for health benefits.

 

Lifestyle adaptions

 

Smoking, drinking, dieting, pregnancy, those taking medication including the contraceptive pill, older vegans and those undertaking more than the usual amount of exercise may need to consider further supplementation to avoid deficiencies and boost vitality.

 

Read the label

 

Look on the label to check that a vitamin, mineral or herbal product is vegan. Some capsules are made from gelatine, some tablets are coated with a gelatine spray or with beeswax or shellac to make them look shiny. The details are important—for instance some Vitamin D3 supplements are from sheep, while others are from vegan lichen.

 

Remember the key to a healthy vegan diet is variety. Choose from a wide range of vegetables, fruits, pulses, grains, plenty of leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Providing you ensure a daily intake of a variety of nutrient sources from food and from supplements, your general health should not suffer from being vegan. Viridian Nutrition has a wide range of Vegan Society certified food supplements, and also guarantees that none are tested on animals.

 

Visiting Independent Health food Stores 

 

Shopping locally and seasonally is important. With thousands of different natural products to choose from, health stores are a one-stop shop for everything natural, ethical and environmental: vegan, wholefoods, organics, raw foods, allergy-free foods, vitamins, minerals and much more. So if you’re looking for diary free cheese, yogurt and non-animal-derived skincare and beauty or a satisfying dairy-free brew – visit your local health food store.

 

Health stores have staff who are qualified and/or experienced in helping with dietary and lifestyle modifications.  


If you have a particular health condition or concern, please first visit a health professional (a GP or a qualified practitioner) to ensure you have correct diagnosis. There are more than 1,000 independent health stores across the UK and Ireland. To find your nearest Viridian Nutrition stockist, visit  www.findahealthstore.com 

 

*Source: Study organised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Centre for Social Science Research (Natcen) and Ipsos Mori survey. https://www.vegansociety.com/news/media/statistics

This article is for information purposes and does not refer to any individual products. The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

 

TAGS: Nutrition News and Viewsvegan diet, vegan

 

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