Vegan diets are usually associated with a wide range of health benefits including reduced risk of many health conditions, weight loss, higher intake of nutrients, etc. Following a properly planned vegan diet can help to improve your health. Hence, vegan diets are known as one of the healthiest diets.
Even though vegan diets are considered healthy for various reasons, a poorly planned plant-based diet can result in a lot of problems. It can be harmful to your health, as it can increase the risk of deficiency of certain nutrients. Hence, there are a lot of concerns existing among people about vegan diets.
If you are planning to follow plant-based diets, then you should be aware of the different health risks of an improperly planned plant based diet. The following are some of the important concerns about plant-based diets you have to be aware of:
A Poorly Planned Plant-Based Diet Can Increase The Risk Of Micronutrient Deficiencies
Vegan diets are well-known for providing high amounts of nutrients. They are also low in fat and cholesterol. In addition to this, most plant-based foods are rich in dietary fiber that can be beneficial for promoting your gut health.
However, people who follow vegan diets tend to suffer from the deficiency of certain micronutrients. So if you are not careful enough, you might suffer from various problems caused by insufficient amounts of certain nutrients including vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and zinc.
The deficiency of such nutrients can result in a lot of problems including a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, higher risk of bone fractures, fatigue, or rashes.
Vegans Should Keep A Close Eye On Iron Levels
Iron plays a crucial role in supporting a wide range of functions in the human body. It aids in the transportation of oxygen throughout the body and promotes cognitive function. It can also boost the immune system and improve the health of nails, skin, and hair. Therefore, it is important for you to consume adequate amounts of iron through your plant-based meals when following a vegan diet.
But vegans tend to suffer from iron deficiency when compared to people who follow non-vegetarian diets. This is because of the fact that the non-heme form of iron present in plant-based foods is usually difficult for the human body to absorb. Also, some plant-based compounds might inhibit the absorption of this mineral. Hence, if you are not careful to consume higher amounts of iron-rich foods, there is a great possibility for you to develop iron deficiency.
Not getting enough iron can lead to lethargy and anemia. Iron deficiency can lead to reduced synthesis of red blood cells. So it won’t be possible for your body to deliver oxygen to important body parts which can lead to a lot of health issues.
So when following plant-based diets, you have to make sure to consume higher amounts of iron-rich foods. Also, consuming foods that are rich in vitamin C along with your iron sources can also help to boost the absorption of this mineral.
Vegans Are At An Increased Risk Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Most of the nutrients your body requires can be absorbed from plant-based foods. However, there are some nutrients that do not naturally occur in plant-based foods and vitamin B12 is one among them.
This vitamin is not naturally formed in plant-based foods. However, it does not mean that you cannot get it from plant-based sources.
There are some fortified plant-based foods that come with vitamin B12 for helping vegans and vegetarians to overcome the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. They include some breakfast cereals, non-dairy milk, vegan spreads, and nutritional yeast.
Hence, including them in your everyday diet is important for reducing the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. If it is not possible for you to acquire vitamin B12 through your diet, then make sure to take supplements for this vitamin. This is especially important, as the problems caused by vitamin B12 deficiency can be irreversible if not treated properly.
Deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to various neurological symptoms including tingling or numbness in the feet and hands, problems with balance, and even dementia. Therefore, vegans should take great care to avoid the deficiency of this nutrient.
Getting Enough Protein Can Be Challenging For Some Vegans
Some vegans find it difficult to attain enough protein their body requires. Hence, it can lead to protein deficiency. Some of the common problems caused by the deficiency of this nutrient are hair loss, fatigue, and swelling.
So it is important to include various protein-rich foods like soy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They are high in protein, so it will be possible for you to get enough protein that is required for the proper functioning of your body.
Following a plant-based diet can be beneficial for you in different ways. However, there is a great chance for the development of the deficiency of certain nutrients if you do not plan your vegan diet carefully. Hence, make sure to include various plant-based foods that are rich in different nutrients in your vegan diet.