Plant-based food is rich in a large variety of nutrients. Most of the nutrients that are vital for the functioning of the human body are present in plant foods except for a few nutrients. Therefore, following a plant-based diet can help you meet your daily nutrient requirements. However, when following plant-based diets, you need to add a wide range of foods including fruits, vegetables, cereals, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, herbs, and spices, etc. in your everyday diet for getting various nutrients. This can help you to avoid nutrient deficiency and prevent different problems associated with it. There is a wide range of nutrients present in plant-based foods. Some of them are listed below:
This is one of the important nutrients that is abundantly found in many plant-based foods. One of the important roles of protein in the human body is aiding in the creation and repair of tissues. Protein is also essential to make hormones, enzymes, and many other body chemicals. It is also the building block of bones, cartilages, muscles, blood, and skin. There are a large number of plant-based foods that are rich sources of protein. Some of them include nuts, seeds, legumes, soy products, whole grains, and some vegetables like peas and spinach, etc.
Many vegans tend to suffer from the deficiency of this mineral. Even though iron is present in many plant-based foods, it is present in non-heme form, which can be difficult for the human body to absorb. Therefore, you need to include foods that are rich in iron for facilitating the absorption of this nutrient. Vitamin C is found to increase the absorption of iron. So including foods that contain vitamin C along with your iron sources can help your body to absorb more iron which can be beneficial for preventing the deficiency of this nutrient. Some vegetables and fruits that contain vitamin C include oranges, lemons, tomatoes, and broccoli, etc.
Some of the important plant-based sources of iron are lentils, beans, chickpeas, chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground linseed, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, dried apricots and figs, kale, quinoa, raisins, and some fortified breakfast cereals. So make sure to include these foods in your plant-based diet.
Most people depend on dairy products for meeting their calcium requirements. There are also a large number of vegan options that are rich in calcium. They are broccoli, kale, black beans, and almonds, etc. Also, some fortified products like non-dairy milk, breakfast cereals, and orange juice contain calcium.
Make sure that you take enough foods that are rich in calcium for maintaining the health of your bones and teeth. Calcium is also necessary for muscle contraction, blood clotting, releasing hormones, and maintaining a healthy heartbeat, etc. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you acquire enough calcium through your plant-based diets.
Vitamin C is a key nutrient that is responsible for carrying out a wide range of functions in the human body. It helps with building and repairing tissues, healing wounds, providing protection against immune system deficiencies, and improving the absorption of iron, etc.
Some of the excellent sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits especially oranges. There are also many other rich sources of vitamin C. This includes kiwifruits, berries, kale, bell peppers, tomato, red cabbage, and broccoli, etc.
This is another important nutrient that you can get from plant-based foods. It is important for wound healing, immune function, and growth in children. This mineral is not stored in the human body in large amounts. So you need to acquire adequate amounts of zinc from your diet daily. Legumes and grains also have a profile that is rich in zinc content. These foods have some compounds called phytates that might limit the absorption of nutrients present in them. However, sprouting grains and soaking legumes can help you reduce the concentration of phytates thereby increasing nutrient absorption.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Your body is not able to produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own. So you need to acquire them from your food. These fatty acids are found in abundance in some fishes. Additionally, many plant sources are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil, and walnuts are important sources of these nutrients. So make sure that you include them in your daily diet.
Fiber is only found in plant-based foods. It can be beneficial for promoting the health of your digestive system. It can help to control the risk of different diseases including bowel cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes. Good sources of fiber include oatmeal, barley, nuts, beans, fruits like berries, apples, pears, and citrus fruits, etc. Including them in your diet can help you to promote your gut health.
Plant-based foods are rich in a wide variety of nutrients. Therefore, following plant-based diets can help to increase the intake of nutrients that are essential for your body.