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Healthy Vegan Living

Been vegan for 2 years 🍏 Educating myself on health and vegan nutrition 🎓 Sharing what I've learned 🐮

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What does a vegan need to know about calcium? A common challenge for many people, no matter if they are vegan or not, is getting enough calsium. As calsium is responsible to keep bones and teeth healthy, it is important that one makes sure to get proper amount of this nutrient. Although getting our calcium from plant-foods has lots of advantages, a vegan should aim to get as much calcium as a meat eater. The world health organizaion recommend to ingest at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Although this is a good guideline to follow, one should be aware that what matters is not how much you eat but how much you absorb. Calsium absorption of plant foods varies widely from as little as 5% to as much as 65% depending of different factors of the food source. The recommended absorbed calcium per day is 250 mg to 300 mg. Here a little information of different plant foods containing calcium and the approximate absorption rate of them: - Leafy greens (spinach, beet greens and chard) are often rich in calcium but hard to absorb, as some of they are high in oxalates which binds calcium to other minerals. - Kale, mustard greens, turnip greens and broccoli are low in oxalates which makes it much easier for us to absorb. The absorption rate of these foods vary around 50% to 65, making them a great source for calcium. - Beans, nuts and seeds contain a moderate amount of calcium but are absorbed at low rates. - Plant milks are as good as cows milk, containing lots of calcium and are absorbed at about 30%. Keeping track and calculating all calcium consumption might get very exhausting. According to "the vegan RD” one should be good if one consumes 2 cups of one of these calcium rich foods every day: - Fortified juices. - Cooked chinese cabbage, turnip greens, mustard greens, collards. - Calcium-set tofu. - Fortified plant milks. This will not provide all the calcium you need but a few servings of other foods that contain calcium should make up the difference. So as a conclusion vegans should not ignore calcium, but it is quite easy to get enough if one have the needed information. A good day to you my friend! 🌱

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Question: Does vegans need more iron than non-vegans? Does a vegan get enough iron? What plant foods contain iron? Short summarised, Iron is important because it is needed to form hemoglobin which is responsible for transporting oxygen through our body. Although Iron-deficiency (anemia) is a common health problem, getting to much iron can also be harmful and has been shown to raise risk for type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Getting plenty of iron on a vegan diet is easy and some plant foods has even more iron per gram than beef. Anyway, vegans have higher iron requirements according to the Food and Nutrition Board. This is because iron from plant foods is not absorbed as well as iron from meat. The main reason is that iron rich plant foods are often high in phytic-acid (phytate), which is a compound that binds iron and other minerals. The positive side about phytate is that it is a very powerful antioxidant that are associated with lower risk for cancer. So trying to avoiding phytate is not only unnessasary but also almost impossible, due to its abundance in plant foods.The key here is to eat in a way that minimzes phytate´s effect on iron. For example adding vitamin C rich foods to iron rich meals, reduces the effects of phytate and increases the absorption of iron. Surprisingly, a small glass of orange juice has shown to increase the absorption of iron by six times! So rather than tracking your iron, the best way is to eat in a way that maximized iron intake and absorption: - Eat iron rich foods: Soyfoods, beans, nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, oatmeal and quinoa. - Include a great source of vitamin C: Citrus foods and juices, kiwifruit, mango, pinapple, strawberries, broccoli, peppers and cauliflower. - Soyfoods are very good as they do not seem to be as effected by phytic-acid. - Avoid drinking tea and coffee with meals, as they have shown to decrease the absorption of iron. No need to overthink this. Vegans has not shown to develop iron-deficiency any more than meat eaters. Eat diverse, try to follow some of these rules, and your iron levels should be good. Thats all for now, have a delightful day 💙

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What is vitamin B12? How much do we need and where do we get it? Do we really need supplement of this nutrient? Vitamin B12 is needed for production of DNA and for maintaining nerve cells, thus is a very important nutrient for our body´s functioning. Deficiency in B12 can cause megaloblastic anemia (red blod cells become very large because they can not divide) and nerve damage which can cause symptoms like depression, mental confusion, loss of balance and even paralysis. A blood level of B12 above 200 pg/ml prevents anemia and nerve damage, but for optimal health you should have above 400 pg/ml. So how can we make sure not to become B12 deficient? As you probably know, all animal foods provide B12, but as vegans, our only two reliable sources is foods fortified with this nutrient and supplements. Although consuming B12 is pretty easy, figuring out appropriate dosages can be a bit tricky. The RDA for B12 is 2.4 mcg per day but to stay on the safe side you should aim for 4-7 mcg. When B12 is consumed it gets attached to receptors for absorption. These receptors become saturated by just 1-2 mcg of B12 and stay that way for hours. Hence, from one consumption of B12 one will only absorb 1-2 mcg and you therefor need to consume several small servings of B12 throughout the day. If you ingest a very big dose of B12 you can still absorb a little of the excess that does not attach to receptors but that extra amount is a very small percentage of the total. 3 ways to meet B12 needs: 1. Ingest to servings per day with at least 2-3.5 mcg each at least 4 hours apart. 2. Daily supplement providing 25-1000 mcg. 3. Supplement providing 1,000 mcg twice per week. B12 fortified foods: - Most plant based milks. - Nutritional yeast So do we really need B12 supplement after all? After hours of studying this nutrient, I have concluded that as a vegan the answer is YES. The risk of developing B12 deficiency is just not worth it. The good thing is that when you have this information, things are pretty easy. Follow one of the 3 ways above and you will be just fine! Thanks for reading! Have a great day, friends!

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