Switching to vegan diet from a typical Western diet means you will eliminate meat and animal products.
This will lead you to rely more heavily on other foods. In the case of a whole food vegan diet, replacements take the form of:
- whole grains
Since these foods make up a larger portion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet, they can lead to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients.
Several studies have reported that vegan diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds. They also appear to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and E.
Vegan diets even appear to be higher in iron. However, the form of iron that plants provide is not as bioavailable — meaning, your body is not as able to absorb it as the form found in animal foods .
Yet, not all vegan diets are created equal.
For instance, poorly planned vegan diets may not provide sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D, calcium, iodine, selenium, or zinc .
That is why it is essential to choose whole plant foods and fortified foods. You may need to consider supplements for nutrients such as vitamins B12 and D, zinc, and calcium, since these may be lacking in a vegan diet.
While whole food vegan diets are generally higher in certain nutrients, poorly planned vegan diets may lead to deficiencies of several key nutrients.