Nutrition

Top 3 Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Wicker basket with assorted raw organic vegetables in the garden.

In a world where everything seems to contain at least butter and eggs, being vegan can be tricky. People may even ask how you’re able to do it and then assert that they could never be vegan. But there are many vegan diet benefits. Whether someone in your life is thinking of going vegan, you’re considering a full vegan diet yourself or you just need a reminder of why you follow this lifestyle, below are several vegan diet benefits.

It does the body good

caldwell esselstyn vegan plantbased whole foods quote

One of the prime reasons people go vegan is for the untold health benefits. Vegans have a negative stereotype of being anemic and deprived of protein, but being vegan has been linked to a number of health benefits. Below are some of the top vegan diet benefits.

If you’re vegan, that means you’re cutting out all animal products, including high-cholesterol meats and eggs. You’re replacing those with healthier foods, like whole grains, fruits, veggies, peas, nuts, seeds and beans, to make up the nutrients and protein you’d be getting from meat otherwise.

One study looked at the Nutrient intake and Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) across a low-fat vegan diet and an American Diabetes Association recommended diet, and found that the vegans raised their score. They increased fiber, vitamins C and K, total vitamin A activity, potassium, magnesium, folate and beta carotene.

However, they also reduced their intake of B-12, calcium and vitamin D, right along with fat, cholesterol and sodium. There’s no denying that eating vegan is a balancing act that will require careful supervision of B-12, calcium, iron, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid intake, to name a few nutrients, but overall it leads to a healthier lifestyle. Vegans have less risk of heart disease and cancer, according to one study. Vegan diets also lead to greater fat loss when trying to lose weight.

It’s an easy way to go green

One of the most impactful ways to help the environment is to cut animal products out of your diet. Meat takes a huge amount of land, water and plant foods to produce, so it’s the easiest way to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s been in the news for awhile that cutting beef alone can reduce your carbon footprint more than driving a car.

In addition to carbon issues, there’s the fact that swathes of land are cleared out to let cattle graze, meaning a greater risk of land erosion and the loss of natural habitats for wildlife.

It’s cruelty-free

Another great reason to go vegan is because of animal rights. Many people swear off of meat after they see the deplorable conditions that animals raised for meat are kept in. You might be one of them. From hens kept in cramped battery cages to sick animals being neglected, all of these are realities of the modern day factory farms.

And while getting free range and organic meat is an option, the ASPCA estimates that more than 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms. Plus, there’s the ethical issue of killing just to get nutrients that can be sourced from supplements and/or plant-based products.

So next time someone is telling you being vegan is dumb, or you’re doubting the lifestyle yourself, just remember these vegan diet benefits: health benefits, the reduced environmental impact and that being vegan means a more cruelty-free existence.

10 Tips to Help Kids Make Healthy Food Choices

Sizzling tofu fajitas

Most parents know the challenges of getting kids to eat healthy foods. Children are bombarded with advertising and media messages for foods that are filed with sugar, fat, and iffy ingredients. Even if a child makes their own choice to go vegetarian and vegan, that’s no guarantee that they won’t be finicky. Here are 10 tips to help kids make healthy food choices; these can also apply to picky eaters of the teen and adult variety, too! more→

Hemp Seeds Nutrition, Health Benefits, & Recipes

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a fantastic addition to any healthy diet, packed with easily digestible protein and a multitude of nutrients. Rare among plant-based foods, they provide complete protein with all 10 essential amino acids — something valuable to vegans and vegetarians. Learn more in Hemp Seeds Boost Vegan Nutrition. Read on for more hemp seeds nutrition benefits and 10 tasty recipes.

More good news —hemp seed is very rarely an allergen, unlike many other nuts and seeds. And unlike flaxseeds, you need not grind them to reap their benefits. Compared with chia seeds, another popular superfood, hemp seeds don’t cause stomach upset. Another unexpected perk: Hemp is an eco-friendly crop that’s naturally pest- and weed-resistant, which means that it can be grown without pesticides and herbicide.

hemp seeds nutrition

Hemp seeds nutrition and  health benefits

Making hemp seeds part of your daily fare can give your overall health and well-being a boost. Some of the benefits attributed to hemp seeds include:

Cardiovascular health: These tiny seeds are a great source of the fatty acids arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, whose intake is associated with lower risk of heart disease.

Skin booster: The healthy fats in hemp seeds may assist in skin conditions like eczema and general dry and itchiness.

Great source of digestible protein: Not only do they provide complete protein with all the essential amino acids, their protein is more digestible and usable than that in many nuts, grains, and other seeds. This can be helpful to athletes and other active people.

PMS and menopause: Hemp seeds are rich in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which has been shown to improve hormone imbalances and ease the symptoms of PMS and menopause.

For studies and sources on the benefits of hemp seeds, see 6 Evidence-Based Benefits of Hemp Seeds.

Hemp seeds nutrition benefits

  • High in fiber.
  • Rich in minerals including magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
  • Abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a specific omega-6 fatty acid (GLA) not found in any other food.
  • Compared with chia and flaxseeds, hemp has the edge in terms of soluble fiber. It’s higher than the other two seeds in protein. This chart shows how hemp seeds compare with chia and flax in terms of nutrients Here’s a handy chart comparing the major nutrients in chia, hemp, and flax seeds, reprinted from Quick and Dirty Tips:

Hemp, chia, and flaxseed comparison chart

How to use hemp seeds nutrition in food
Hemp seed has a very mild, nutty flavor.  Like the other seeds, they’re good in hot or cold cereals, smoothies, and soups, or just sprinkled on salads, casseroles, noodle dishes, or cooked grains. Just incorporate a tablespoon or two into your daily fare this way to reap the benefits. You can also try these tasty recipes that highlight hemp seeds:

Hemp seeds nutrition

Hemp-Chocolate Chunk Blondies are the perfect power-packed pick-me-up with nuts, hemp seeds, dates, and chunks of dark chocolate. No need to reach for an unhealthy snack!

hemp seeds nutrition

Cherry-Hemp Muesli is a simple European–inspired breakfast cereal that is easy to make and convenient to keep on hand for a quick breakfast. It’s especially great to take with you when traveling.

hemp seeds nutrition

Pack up these nutritious Chocolate and Cherry Hemp Bars for a hike, or enjoy them as a simple treat. They’re an amped-up, antioxidant- and protein-rich version of a rice crispy treat.

hemp seeds nutrition

Hemp milk is delicious! Here’s how to make homemade hemp milk, which is more economical and tastier than what you can buy.

hemp seeds nutrition

Walnuts and hemp seeds offer a tasty source of Omega 3s in this quick and easy raw Hemp Walnut Pie Crust. Fill it with your favorite fruit filling for a no-bake pie everyone will love.

Black Bean Hemp Burger

Perfectly aligned spices celebrate three plant-based protein sources: black beans, hemp seeds, and quinoa. These vegan Black Bean-Hemp Protein Patties.

Homemade hemp granola

Hemp-anola (hemp granola) uses less oil than many granola recipe, for a lighter breakfast. Plus, hemp seeds add extra protein to this already nutritious cereal.

Romaine lettuce green smoothie recipe

In this mild green Power Smoothie, dark leafy greens, hemp, chia, and fruit add up to a killer morning drink.

Sesame Berry Squares

The good news about Sesame-Berry Squares is they’re quite nutritious on top of being delicious—so thumbs way up if you feel like having seconds. In addition to sesame seeds, this treat contains plenty of hemp seeds, too.

Linguine or Fettuccine with asparagus and mushrooms recipe

Store-bought vegan Parmesan topping is OK, but homemade Vegan Cashew or Almond Parmesan-Style Cheez is better! This nutritious nut-based dairy-free topping can be made in minutes, and you can incorporate plenty of hemp seed into it. Delicious on pastas and other savory dishes.

How do you get your hemp seeds nutrition? Shout out your favorite recipes in the comments!

7 Common Superfoods for Women of Any Age

Fresh spinach in a bowl

Women today are more conscious of their health and food intake. They watch what they eat more carefully now than ever. But you need not buy expensive and unproven superfoods and supplements, when there are so many common foods that can benefit your health. You may have some or most of these in the pantry or fridge already! Here are 7 of these common superfoods for the benefit women of any age, whether their goal is weight loss or simply to feel healthier and look better.

Spinach: This leafy vegetable is packed with essential nutrients that women of any age need. It has loads of vitamin K, magnesium and calcium. The combination of these three slows down the deterioration of bones ones you get older. It also contains folate which is a type of vitamin B. Here are some healthy and delicious spinach recipes. more→

Calorie myths: Why counting calories won’t improve your weight or health

Healthy Ingredients

Counting calories is one of the first places most people look when trying to lose weight. If you are one of those people, you really ought to read 7 common calorie myths that people generally don’t realize.

In recent times the word calories, has become synonymous with weight loss. We are constantly told that weight management is a simple case of energy balance and calorie counting. more→

10 Top Health Benefits of Coffee

Cup of coffee with fresh coffee beans

Coffee is actually very healthy. It’s loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health. Studies show that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of several serious diseases. Here are 10 of the top health benefits of coffee that have been confirmed in actual human studies. Still, you need to be mindful of its negative effects as well. For all 36 benefits and precautions, see this thorough post on 36 Amazing Benefits (and Side Effects) of Coffee – A Balanced View Based on Science — which include live citations of studies. more→

Maca Root: Are There Side Effects or Precautions?

Maca powder

Here at VegKitchen, we’re big fans of maca root, and want to make sure to cover all our bases. Maca, a root that belongs to the radish family, is most commonly available in powder form and considered a superfood rather than a supplement. Learn more about the benefits of maca, and get even more info by exploring our frequently asked questions about maca root.
more→

Pink Himalayan Salt: 5 Reasons to Ditch Regular Table Salt

Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan salt is a special type of rock salt that contains plenty of health benefits, particularly because it offers more than 84 natural elements in their mineral form. Being formed more than 250 million years ago, it is considered as the purest and most valuable salt on earth today.

Studies have shown that it has incredible ionic energy, which means that it helps to neutralize electromagnetic radiation and air pollution. Due to this, pink Himalayan salt is also used in the form of crystal salt lamps, bath salts, and as cooking slabs. more→

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