The plant-based lifestyle, or veganism, is becoming one of Britain’s fastest growing trends. There are now more than half a million vegans in Britain, according to research commissioned by The Vegan Society. The study found there were 600,000 people following a vegan diet in Great Britain in 2018, or 1.16% of the population. This is double the number of 276,000 vegans (0.46%) in 2016. * But why the move to veganism? Concerns over animal welfare, the environment, clear labelling, increased accessibility to plant-based alternatives to dairy food and social media have all helped shift attitudes.
As with any diet or lifestyle, it’s important to ensure that people are mindful concerning where and how they get their nutrients and vitamins.
A Guide to Supplements
What are the benefits of B12 and other vegan specific supplements?
B12 plays an important role in energy production, cognitive functioning, and neuralgia, but it is predominately found in animal products such as liver, shellfish, and red meats.
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) are a group of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids which are also important for health and vitality. Research supports a central role for DHA in normal brain and visual functioning, and both EPA and DHA have been linked to regular heart functioning, as well as baby development during pregnancy. There are plenty of vegan supplements for these acids, and happily ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in flaxseeds and walnuts, which be converted into EPA and DHA in the body, however this process can be potentially limited.
Although you may think iron is only found in meat products, it can also be sourced via plant products such as dark leafy vegetables and dried fruits, and for those who require more iron than what they get nutritionally, vegan-friendly iron supplements are available to assist.
Read the label
When doing your research, look on the label to check that a vitamin, mineral or herbal product is vegan. Some capsules are made from gelatine, some tablets are coated with a gelatine spray or with beeswax or shellac to make them look shiny. The details are important – for instance some Vitamin D3 supplements are from sheep, while others are from vegan lichen.
Remember the key to a healthy vegan diet (and in fact, any diet) is variety. Choose from a wide range of vegetables, fruits, pulses, grains, plenty of leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Viridian Nutrition has a wide range of Vegan Society certified food supplements, and also guarantees that none are tested on animals.
Visiting Independent Health food Stores
Shopping locally and seasonally is important. With thousands of different natural products to choose from, health stores are a one-stop-shop for everything natural, ethical and environmental: vegan, wholefoods, organics, raw foods, allergy-free foods, vitamins, minerals and much more. So if you’re looking for dairy-free cheese, yogurt and non-animal-derived skincare and beauty or a satisfying dairy-free brew – visit your local health food store!
These shops will also have staff who are qualified and/or experienced in helping with dietary and lifestyle modifications – perfect!
Of course, If you have a particular health condition or concern, please first visit a health professional (a GP or a qualified practitioner) to ensure you have correct diagnosis.
There are more than 1,000 independent health stores across the UK and Ireland. To find your nearest Viridian Nutrition stockist, visit www.findahealthstore.com
This article is for information purposes and does not refer to any individual products. The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.
Want to try vegan? Sign up to take the Veganuary pledge today!
*Source: Study organised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Centre for Social Science Research (Natcen) and Ipsos Mori survey. https://www.vegansociety.com/news/media/statistics