Making for a Brainy Vegan
A vegan cuts out all animal products from their diet, and this includes foods like honey, eggs and other dairy products. Processed foods made with animal products are also off-limits for vegans. Most vegans experience a number of health benefits from this eating plan, as the fat in red meat and lactose in dairy products are very difficult to digest and very calorie-dense. They may eat more leafy greens and other vegetables and fresh fruits, so they get more vitamins and essential nutrients.
However, vegans may not be getting enough food to nourish their brain and mental functions, as omega-3 fatty acids are typically the best for keeping the brain healthy. These fatty acids are best found in fish, which of course vegans don’t eat. There are other foods and nutrients that help to keep the brain healthy and which are found in vegan-friendly foods.
The Nutrients You Need
Choline is an important element in good brain health as this strengthens the neurotransmitters of brain cells. These neurotransmitters are what carry the electrical signals and impulses to various parts of the brain, supporting memory, problem solving, concentration, and other functions. They also carry these impulses to the central nervous system and in turn, to every part of the body.
Choline is found in egg yolks but these are off-limits to vegans. While vegetarians may eat eggs, vegans need to find their choline from other sources. They also need to fill up on other types of fatty acids that feed the brain cells and keep them healthy, in place of the fats from fish.
Where to Get Brain Food
Many herbs and spices have choline, including cinnamon, curry, paprika, ginger, garlic, and chili powder. Be sure to season your food heavily with these so you get the choline you need. You can also find choline in mushrooms, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, and soy products.
Healthy Fatty Acids for the Vegan Brain
The fatty acids in nuts are also good for a healthy brain and it’s often recommended that vegans work these into their diet as much as possible. Nuts are high in protein and other essential elements along with being good brain food, and they can fill you up with fiber and help with digestion. Be careful of their calorie count but add walnuts and peanuts along with cashews to your diet every day. This will ensure good brain health while following a vegan eating plan.