A varied diet based on the foods in the table below ensures adequate intake of all essential nutrients and many more beneficial ones such as antioxidants. A healthy vegan diet is one consisting mainly of fruit and vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and nuts and seeds. It provides the body with all it needs and the only vitamin required to be supplemented is vitamin B12. It can be taken either in the form of food supplements or enriched foods, such as plant milks or margarines. B12 supplementation is not only recommended to vegans but to everyone over the age of 50, regardless of the diet, as the body’s ability to absorb this vitamin declines with age.
Over the winter months, vitamin D supplementation is also recommended to everyone in the UK. Not all vitamin D is vegan though - vitamin D2 is and some vitamin D3 can be too but make sure you know the source (most vitamin D3 is animal derived).
To ensure sufficient intake of essential omega-3 fats, natural sources should be made part of a daily diet – milled flaxseed (linseed) or hempseed and their oils for cold food preparation, rapeseed oil for cooking and some nuts and seeds as a healthy addition to meals – eg walnuts and chia seeds.
For more information on nutrients, their importance and best vegan sources see our exclusive new resource:
Order this table as a handy wallchart you can put in your kitchen.
Order this table as a colourful wallchart to put in your kitchen.
For more practical wallcharts, click here.
For further information on:
nutrients in vegan diets, see Viva! Health’s guide Nutrition in a Nutshell
a vegan diet in pregnancy and for babies, see our Mother & Baby guide
a healthy vegan diet for children, see our Healthy Veggie Kids guide
Or visit Going Vegan section for help with the transition.