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Whether it’s out of an ethical concern or just because they want to change their diet, certain individuals believe that eating animal products is wrong and have decided to avoid all animal foods altogether. However, the suggestion that one should simply remove wholesome animal foods completely and expect no adverse health effects poses some cause for concern. For a few years, I was a pescatarian and realized that I needed to consume more quality protein and essential nutrients to match the amount of activity I was doing every week. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at potential risks associated with avoiding wholesome animal foods and why these choices can put you in danger of experiencing potentially damaging consequences for your health.
Vegans might also have a tough time finding ‘complete’ protein sources that contain all of the essential amino acids. Animal proteins have long been touted for their high bioavailability and complete amino acid profile, both of which are essential for supporting muscle growth and repair. While vegan proteins, such as lentils and quinoa, can provide a valuable source of nutrients, they often lack certain amino acids that must be supplemented to ensure a complete nutritional profile. A vegan could try a plant-based protein powder made from peas and brown rice to help you meet your protein & amino acid requirements.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is only found in animal-based foods like seafood, dairy products, and eggs. For this reason, vegans must supplement their diets with an oral supplement or fortified foods to ensure a proper intake of this vital nutrient. A long-term deficiency in B12 can lead to several unpleasant symptoms, including fatigue, confusion, irritability, and even anemia. Even more serious side effects like irreversible nerve damage and heart problems can occur if the deficiency is left untreated for too long.
Iron is essential for oxygen uptake throughout body tissues and helps to maintain healthy red blood cells (RBCs). As mentioned before, vegans may have a difficult time getting enough iron from their diet and can be at an increased risk of developing anemia. This is because plant-based sources of iron are not as well absorbed as those found in animal products. Anemia caused by iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, impaired cognitive function, weakened immunity, and even infertility.
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