People eat more plant-based food or follow plant-based diets like vegetarianism and veganism mainly for health benefits. While doing so, you must pay attention to eating a balanced diet because certain essential nutrients are lacking in plant-based food sources. There are two major reasons for this, either they are difficult to be absorbed by the body or they are absent. So, if this is not taken into consideration, it will lead to the development of deficiency diseases. The purpose of this article is to guide you with eating a balanced plant-based diet.
Balanced Plant-Based Diet
A healthy plant-based diet consists of consuming more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. This will provide most of the macronutrients for maintaining healthy muscles and meeting energy requirements. Besides, eating whole plant-based food is the key to following a balanced plant-based diet. But many people who are new to veganism tend to consume fewer calories than required, as well as neglect certain essential nutrients. In fact, they fill this gap by eating more junk food with vegan or vegetarian tags, and this is not good for health.
Signs Of An Unbalanced Diet
A plant-based diet that is deficient in nutrients will express itself physiologically in different ways, and they are listed below:
- Weight loss
- Low energy levels
- Constant hunger
- Brittle hair, bones, and nails
Furthermore, a strict vegan plant-based meal can be low on calories, vitamin B12, minerals like iron and calcium, and maybe low on protein.
Proper Plant-Based Meal Macro Nutrients Breakdown
Protein, carbs, and fat are called macronutrients because they form a major portion of nutrients in any diet. Shared below are their ratio for a balanced plant-based diet:
- Protein: 20-30% of daily calories
- Carbohydrates: 45-65% of daily calories
- Fat: 25-35% of daily calories
Finally, the daily calorie requirement of a person depends on factors like age, lifestyle, gender, and weight. Because of this, it can vary slightly from person to person. The recommended daily calorie intake is 2,500 calories for men and 2,000 calories for women.
Micronutrients To Pay Attention To In A plant-Based Diet
Iron: Iron is an important constituent in the hemoglobin protein of the red blood cells. Besides, iron from plant-based food sources is not easily absorbed by the body because it is non-heme iron.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is required for energy metabolism and red blood cell production; it is absent in most plant-based food. So, you must consume vitamin B12 fortified food cereals, plant-based milk, and nutritional yeast.
Vitamin D And Calcium: Calcium found in plant-based food is not easily absorbed by the body. The body makes most vitamin D when the skin is exposed to UV rays in the sun. For calcium, you can consume supplements, plant-based food like beets, lentils, beans, kale, spinach, tofu, and so on. Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D for those following a vegan diet.
These are the important points that you must keep in mind to follow a balanced plant-based diet.