There has been lots of discussion on the plant-based diet over the last few months due to the recent release of the Netflix documentary “Game Changers. Is it healthier? Does it reduce the risk of diet related disease? Does it improve athletic performance?
Only 4% of Australians are getting enough veggies - outrageous. Therefore, adopting more of a plant-based diet is seeing the veggie intake of Australians rise which I love. However, you don’t have to completely strip animal products from your diet to up your intake of veg.
Plant based diets require a huge amount of motivation, planning and preparation and therefore if not done correctly, can leave you lacking in so many crucial nutrients. Here are a few in particular that you need to be mindful of……………
Protein: the building blocks of our cells, hair, skin and nails! Plant based sources – Tofu, legumes/pulses, fortified soy milks, nuts and seeds
Iron: one of the worlds most common deficiencies. It is required for red blood cell production which transports oxygen around the body Plant based sources: Legumes/pulses (such as chickpeas), green leafy veg when consumed with a source of Vitamin C, quinoa, fortified cereals. Tip; avoid consuming caffeine with iron sources because it inhibits the absorption
Calcium: required for the formation of strong bones and teeth. Plant based sources: firm tofu & tempeh, salmon with the bones, fortified plant based milks (soy, almond etc). Note this is only if they have been fortified
Vitamin B12: DNA production and helps to keep nerves and blood cells healthy Plant based sources: Only available from animal based products. If following a vegan diet, you will need to supplement
Other nutrients also to be mindful of include; Omega 3 and Zinc.
So in a nut shell, carefully planned plant based diets can be nutritionally balanced. However, they are not necessarily healthier. It is important to determine your motivation and reason for choosing this way of eating and seek advice from an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.
To book an appointment with our resident Dietitian CLICK HERE