Vegan Nutrition provides a perfect supply of nutrients and vital substances
Vegans are often asked: How do you cover your protein needs,like your calcium needs? where do you get your iron from? your B vitamins? and so on and so forth. We’ll explain how you can easily meet your needs for a wide variety of vital subtances and nutrients with a vegan diet.
Vegan Nutrition provides many times the recommended levels of vital substances
Please note: When it comes to “need”, it refers to the generally accepted recommendations of the ASN (American Society for Nutrition) meant in the field of vitamins, minerals and trace elements – In our opinion – are valued very low, so that you can confidently start from higher values, but which – as you’ll see shortly – can be reached just as easily with a vegan nutrition.
Often a single vegan meal covers the amount of vital substances indicated by the ASN, so that you are well supplied with two to three vegan meals a day.
Naturally, proteins are present in almost all plants and therefore also in all vegetable species, in all fruits and in all seeds. However, the following vegetable foods are exceptionally rich in protein:
- nuts (almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts),
- legumes (peanuts, beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas etc),
- seeds (pumpkin seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, Poppy seeds, sesame seeds), whole grains (especially quinoa and amaranth) and
- soy products
- Rice protein, hemp protein or lupine
Among the most protein-rich are Cabbage family (especially Brussels sprouts, kale and savoy cabbage), but also garden cress, herbs, wild plants and mushrooms.
In fruit, there is little protein present in proportion to the total mass (usually less than 1 gram per 100 grams), but if you dry it, a smaller amount of fruit will give a higher protein content, that’s why dried fruits also contain interesting amounts of protein (in some cases fivefold Compared to the fresh fruit).
Dried figs, dried apricots, dry bananas and dry peaches are particularly suitable here.
The front runners here are dry apricots and kale. Followed by sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, fennel, chicory,lamb’s fennel, peppers and all green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, rocket and chard, and especially wild vegetables like dandelion, nettle and sorrel.
Pronounced beta-carotene-rich fruits are rose hips, honeydew melons, kakis, guavas, mandarins, mangoes, sea buckthorn, blackberries and fresh apricots.
Coenzyme Q10 does not like heat, so the following foods can only deliver the enzyme when consumed raw: peanuts, sesame seeds, pistachios, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach.
Those who feed on plant foods will not be able to develop a vitamin C deficiency – unless you focused exclusively on cereal products that are as good as vitamin C-free.
Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, all contain different amounts of vitamin C, eg.:
- berries(acerola,aronia, strawberry,rose hips, buckthorn, etc.),
- citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruit,tangerines, kumquat etc.),
- papaya, kiwi, pineapple, apricots, watermelons and include the following vegetables:
- peppers, parsley, broccoli,cauliflower, romaine lettuce, Brussels Sprouts, kale,kohlrabi, tomatoes, asparagus, celery,squash pumpkin, carrots, garlic, sweet-potatoes, onions, potatoes and fresh sauerkraut.
Sunshine and these foods provide us with vitamin D: mushrooms, morels, chanterelles, porcini mushrooms, avocados and small amounts of vitamin D are also found in wild plants such as nettles, dandelion, watercress and many more.
The sulfur-containing amino acid glutathione, which is considered to be one of the most important antioxidants and protects our body from harmful substances, is found in
- green leafy vegetables, chlorella, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and walnuts.
- Glutathione-containing fruits include watermelons, avocados, grapefruits, oranges, honey and melons, and peaches.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
This vitamin is in fish, dairy products sparse and even in eggs, which is why vegans are on the absolute winner in terms of vitamin B1 supply.
Especially, a lot of vitamin B1 is contained in sunflower seeds. Already about 60 grams of the delicious kernels are enough to cover the daily requirement of vitamin B1 for an adult.
Furthermore, a lot of vitamin B1 is included in the following nuts and seeds: pine nuts, Brazil nuts, poppy, pecans, pistachios, peanuts, cashews and sesame seeds.
Legumes like lentils, peas and peanuts are also rich in vitamin B1, but should be eaten in the form of sprouts (or unroasted in the case of peanuts), because vitamin B1 is extremely sensitive to heat and is therefore partially destroyed during cooking.
This should also be taken into account when eating cereal products to meet the vitamin B1 requirement, as these are usually eaten heated.
Foods, of which a 100-gram portion covers at least 10 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin B1, are the following: sweetcorn, artichokes, bamboo shoots, romaine lettuce, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, salsify, garden cress, parsley root, and garden herbs.
Oranges or dried fruits like sultanas, dried figs and dried plums also help meet the vitamin B1 requirement.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
The B2 vitamin has similar suppliers such as vitamin B1. Also, vitamin B2 is preferably obtained from nuts (almonds and coconut flakes), seeds (pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds), legumes (including soy products such as tempeh), mushrooms (especially mushrooms) and – in significantly smaller quantities – from the following vegetables: spinach, asparagus, Swiss chard, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin.
Herbs such as parsley and dill are also vitamin B2-rich and can be – even in larger quantities – wonderfully enjoyed in the form of green smoothies or fresh herb soups.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Vitamin B3 is found in peanuts, peanut butter, legumes, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, whole grains (millet, brown rice, etc.), dried fruits (e.g dried banana, dried apricots, dried figs), guavas and black elderberries are good vitamin B3 suppliers.
Extremely high levels are contained in dried chanterelles (57.6 mg Niacin per 100 grams) and dried porcini mushrooms (31.3 mg). But even fresh mushrooms provide so much niacin that just 100 grams are enough to cover 30 percent of your daily needs. The remaining 70 percent are easily consumed with a handful of peanuts.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Already a meal from an avocado, a pepper, a portion of mixed vegetables like Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, sweetcorn and a lentil salad cover up the daily requirement for an adult of vitamin B6. If you would eat a few more walnuts, you would have exceeded the official daily requirement by a mile.
Quinoa, millet and buckwheat are vitamin B6 suppliers in the carbohydrate sector. In addition to legumes, nuts and seeds, the following fruits and vegetables are also recommended:
bananas, raisins, mangoes, prickly pears, carrots, leeks, sauerkraut, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, lamb’s lettuce, kale, potatoes and chives.
Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Biotin is eaten with peanuts and other legumes (peas, bean sprouts, etc.), avocados, oatmeal, carrots, chicory, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, hazelnuts and almonds.
Folic acid (Vitamin B9)
Folic acid is found abundantly in plant foods. At 400 micrograms, the recommended daily requirement is in the meantime. Twenty years ago he was still at 150 micrograms.
This does not mean, of course, that you needed less folic acid in the past, but that you have become a bit smarter now and realize that we need significantly more nutrients than was originally assumed.
Folic acid foods include: peanuts (100 grams already cover half the daily requirement), green vegetables such as kale, brussels sprouts, peas, green beans, endive salad, corn salad, spinach, green asparagus, leeks, parsley, lettuce, fennel and broccoli, but also many other vegetables like cauliflower, celery and kohlrabi, as well as nuts for example: walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds.
Folic acid rich fruits are: strawberries, sour cherries, grapes, avocados and oranges. With a bowl of strawberries (250 grams) you have already covered almost half of your folic acid needs.
Methylcobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Vitamin B12 is produced by a healthy intestinal flora itself. However, since assessing your gut’s health is anything but easy and can change with the type and quality of diet, you should not rely too much on this source of vitamin B12 in a 100% vegan diet. However, one study showed that vegans who consumed algae had a higher vitamin B12 level than those who did not consume algae. Algae can be taken in the form of spirulina algae, AFA algae and chlorella algae or as sea vegetables.
Amaranth, quinoa, sea algae, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and the Sango Marine Coral are the magnesium star among the vegetable foods.
Cereals such as barley, oats, spelled, millet and wholegrain rice contain about as much magnesium that a 100-gram serving can cover about a quarter of the official daily requirement (about 350-400 grams).
Other magnesium-rich foods are: green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard, spinach, nettle and purslane as well as herbs like basil, marjoram and sage. In addition, legumes such as beans, peas, lentils and soybeans, as well as pure cocoa and ginger.
We have put best magnesium supplements here together.
Brazil nuts are especially rich in selenium. A handful of them and you do not have to worry about selenium anymore. Selenium is also very abundant in porcini mushrooms and in smaller quantities also in mushrooms, lentils, soybeans, as well as in oats, wholegrain rice and maize.
In all fruits and especially vegetables there is a lot of potassium, so that a list would be endless long, so here are just a few selected plant foods that are especially rich in potassium: chard, spinach, lettuce, herbs, celery, kale, broccoli , Fennel, pumpkin, eggplant, kale, Brussels sprouts, turmeric, beets, asparagus, cauliflower, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, avocados, watermelons, prunes, kiwis, apricots, figs, bananas, oranges, raisins, ginger and molasses.
Many people believe that sooner or later vegans get anemia if they do not eat meat. Of course this is only the case if you eat meat, but none of the following foods. Then the body has no choice but to use the iron out of meat.
But really much iron is only contained in liver and black pudding. But who likes liver and black pudding and who eats that every day?
In addition, meat (muscle meat) contains a bit of iron, but nothing of all the other wonderful substances (in particular the cancer-protecting phytochemicals), which are included – in addition to iron – in the following vegetable foods:
The iron frontrunners are pumpkin seeds (12.5 Milligrams – the daily requirement is around 15 milligrams) and sesame seeds (10), amaranth (9), quinoa (8), millet, poppy, linseed, chanterelles, basil, sunflower seeds and dried peaches.
The spice turmeric contains over 40 milligrams of iron. Considering that people in Asia eat about 5 grams of turmeric a day in their food as well as tea, the yellow root can contribute to the daily Iron needs.
Also rich in green are leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, spinach, plantain, purslane, nettle, cress, dandelion, corn salad and other green leafy lettuce as well as herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme, dill, rosemary and the spice cinnamon.
Many legumes (chickpeas, lentils, etc.) and vegetables such as peas, shiitake mushrooms, salsify,vegetables Jerusalem artichokes, olives, Hijiki algae (sea) and leek also contain worthwhile amounts of iron.
It should be noted that the absorption of iron contained in food depends on many factors: For example, the need for iron (the higher the demand, the better the absorption, the condition of the digestive system (eg pH in the intestine, gastric acid production, etc.) and, last but not least, the other foods.
For example, vitamin C-rich foods promote iron intake extremely, while coffee, black tea, high-phosphate finished products and soft drinks, and calcium-rich dairy products inhibit iron absorption.
Excellent sources of Zinc are nuts and seeds. Pumpkin seeds contain for example 7030 micrograms of zinc per 100 grams. Pig liver, on the other hand – and this is one of the most zinc-rich animal foods – contains only 6350 micrograms.
walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts and almonds contain much more zinc as meat. Legumes, buckwheat and millet also provide interesting amounts of zinc.
And avocados, herbs, green leafy vegetables (especially wild vegetables) still contain 600 to 900 micrograms of zinc, which equals the zinc content of fish. Miso also supplies zinc. It contains at least 500 micrograms of the trace element.
The following foods we usually consume only in small amounts, but due to their superior abundance of zinc, they can most prominently meet zinc needs:
a wonderful source of zinc is the microalgae Spirulina, which contains over 10,000 micrograms of zinc. Similarly rich in zinc are beechnuts and poppy. In addition, sesame seeds and Cocoa powder is also a prime source of zinc, although it should never be eaten in combination with milk.
The hormone melatonin is known for its great anti-aging and cancer-protective effect and is produced in the body from the messenger substance serotonin .
Serotonin, in turn, is derived from the amino acid tryptophan, so in order to get as much melatonin as possible, it is best to eat foods that contain a lot of serotonin or tryptophan.
These include quinoa, amaranth, Inka Gold (which contains all the building blocks for the formation of serotonin and thus also for melatonin), Jerusalem artichokes, pineapple, bananas, AFA algae and sesame seeds. Melatonin itself is said to be found especially in walnuts, but also in oats, brown rice, ginger, tomatoes, barley and cherries.
When it comes to calcium, most people think of milk first. And indeed, not so much the milk, but hard cheese is incredibly rich in calcium. Here are two questions:
- 1. Can we make full use of the calcium from dairy products?
- 2. Do we even need as much calcium as is contained in cheese?
The answer to the first question can be found in our article on cow’s milk.
The second question is almost more interesting.
Meanwhile, there is evidence that humanity is more likely suffer from magnesium deficiency, which – with far-reaching health consequences – is favored by excess calcium (dairy products contain very little magnesium compared to calcium).
Calcium and magnesium should always be consumed in a 2: 1 ratio for optimum recovery, which is not possible with dairy products, but with plant foods.
Calcium is found in plant products in a sufficient amount for humans and in an ideal calcium-magnesium ratio in sesame (eg in the form of sesame “milk” and sesame), almonds (eg in the form of almond milk “, Almond paste, almond crackers, almond pies, etc.), hazelnuts and flaxseed, in the Sango sea coral and in green vegetables and wild vegetables such as kale, dandelion, garden cress, watercress, broccoli, fennel, Swiss chard, carrots and many more.
Poppy seeds, herbs and kitchen spices (dried herbs), sea vegetables, spirulina, stinging nettles, chickpeas (and other legumes), dried fruits (figs, apricots), soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk, tofu and tempeh are also rich in calcium.
Meat-Free Nutrition in Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Disease
Both, preventive and as a therapy, a meatless diet plan for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases makes sense and is helpful.
Vegan nutrition is therefore not only fun, not only gives the highest culinary delights with a clear conscience, but provides our body with all nutrients and vital substances significantly better than any so-called mixed food could accomplish.