Veganuary 2021 is now in full swing and this year has seen the most sign ups since the initiative began in 2014.
Now more than ever, the question of how to eat a healthier diet is high on the agenda of many of our conversations about lifestyle choices. Whether it be cutting back on the volume of saturated fats we consume or upping the amount of fruit and vegetables we eat, our diets are always the topic of much debate.
Can what we eat affect our mental health?
We all know that excessive consumption of sugary food and drink is bad for our health. It can severely limit the effectiveness of the gut-brain axis, which is the connection between our stomachs and our minds.
Ultimately, what we put into our bodies affects not only how we look, but how we feel. It pays to be supplying both your gut and brain with vitamins and minerals that are required for optimum performance.
Many of the foods that are part of a vegan diet are regularly recommended as part of non-vegan diets. These are high in vitamin C (spinach, oranges) and vitamin B-12 (fortified breakfast cereals) and are great for your overall health when consumed in moderation.
Can veganism really change our mood?
As vegan diets are packed with healthy foods full of vitamins and minerals, it could be said that vegans give their bodies the best chance of maintaining good levels of mental health.
A key thing to remember about veganism is that the intake of vitamin B12 is more restricted. Adults need around 1.5 micrograms of B12 a day. This gap must be plugged by something else and the same goes for the calcium you get out of such products.
B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, but not in fruits, vegetables or grains. Those eating a vegan diet are advised to eat fortified foods, like cereals, or take supplements.
Veganism can only lead to a happy body and mind when a happy diet and lifestyle are maintained, which means that any potential shortfalls in essential vitamins and minerals must be rectified via other sources.
Should we all be vegan?
Everyone is different and there is no one diet that fits everybody’s lifestyle and dietary needs.
The key to happiness when it comes to your diet is not necessarily to simply adopt veganism as a lifestyle, but it is to understand your body and how it reacts to the foods and drinks that align with your philosophy.