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Nuts in a Vegan Diet

The Role of Nuts in a Vegan Diet

Published on August 18, 2020

The vegan diet is so popular these days. It not only makes you follow a healthier life and help the environment by not killing animals but also can help you lose weight.

However, because the foods on this diet are plant-based, there are some vitamins and minerals that you may lose while following this diet.

That’s when nuts come to play an important role in this diet. If you want to know why nuts are important on the vegan diet and what nuts are better for this diet, read this post.

What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet is a strict form of a vegetarian diet. The difference between these two types of diets is that vegans don’t eat animal-based products, such as milk or even honey. That’s why it makes it harder for them to maintain all the essential minerals in their body.

A vegan diet has many benefits, but there are some downsides for this diet that can be fulfilled by eating nuts. First, let’s see which foods are on the list of a vegan diet.

Foods in a vegan diet

Which foods are allowed in a vegan diet?

Vegans are allowed to eat the following foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Potato
  • Soya drinks
  • Nuts and seeds

Why nuts are important in a vegan diet?

A vegan diet is restricted to plant-based products, such as vegetables or fruits. But the problem here is that the plant-based products don’t have enough energy or all the nutrients that some animal-based products, such as meat or fish, have.

The most important components are protein or calcium and omega-3. That’s when the nuts show up and take place on this diet.

Nuts have an important role in a vegan diet

Nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, calcium, and other nutrients. They are heart-healthy, can improve digestion, can help you with losing weight, and also can provide energy.

Additionally, they are easy to consume. That’s why vegans should always add nuts to their diet to fill the nutritional gap they may encounter by following a 100% plant-based diet (means only vegetables, fruits, or beans). A balanced vegan diet is consisting of plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains.

However, it should be mentioned that some people might be allergic to nuts. Furthermore, as mentioned, nuts are a great source of protein, calories, and fats (considered healthy). Overeating nuts may have side effects. That’s why vegans need to take care of the number of nuts they can eat in a day.

Protein-of-nuts-in-vegan-diet

9 Nuts and Seeds to Add to a Vegan Diet

  • Almonds

Almonds are one of the best nuts that vegans can add to their diet. Almonds are low-carb nuts with the highest amount of vitamin E and protein.

They also carry lots of other beneficial minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and copper. Every serving (one ounce equal to 23 almonds) provides 6 grams of protein.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for daily intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram. It’s normally 46 grams for average women and 56 grams for average men.

Therefore, almonds can have a great role to fulfill the need for protein in the body. Read more about the health benefits of almonds.

Almonds fill the need of vitamin E in a vegan diet
  • Cashews

These creamy and delicious nuts are a great source of antioxidants, selenium, and protein. Selenium is not only good for skin health but also can help prevent different cancers.

Each person over 14 years needs 55 mcg of selenium during the day. Additionally, selenium is so important for pregnant women and their babies. They need to take even more selenium (60 mcg) per day during their pregnancy.

Eating cashews can help the body to take more selenium in a vegan diet. Each ounce of dry cashews contains 3 mcg of selenium. Although it doesn’t seem that much, every bit helps. Read more about the health benefits of cashew nuts.

Cashews are high in selenium
  • Pistachios

Pistachios are packed with fiber, unsaturated fats, and potassium. This nut is considered a heart-healthy nut that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.

Among all the benefits that pistachios have, they are rich in potassium. Although potassium can be found in many plant-based foods, such as bananas, spinach, potatoes, and mushrooms; pistachios have other minerals that make it even more beneficial than the mentioned foods.

Each ounce of pistachios contains more potassium than half of a large banana. Add the healthy fats and protein to this pack to see how helpful are in a vegan diet.

Pistachios are a great source of potassium in a vegan diet
  • Walnuts

Omega-3 is one of the important components in the body that you can rarely find in plant-based foods. Omega-3 is mostly found in fish and other seafood.

Generally, people who are following a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet have an omega-3 deficiency. The rescuer nut in this case is walnut, which is the only tree nut that contains omega-3.

Every ounce of walnut carries 2.5 grams alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3, which is even more than enough during the day because every person over 14 needs almost 1.5 grams of ALA intake per day. Read more about the health benefits of walnuts.

Walnuts can take the place of fish in a vegan diet
  • Pine Nuts

As a nut loaded with a high amount of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K, pine nuts are so beneficial for bone health.

In some rare cases, people might be allergic to eat banana, which is the best source of potassium. In this case, there should be an alternative to this fruit that can help the body take the needed potassium during the day.

Pine nuts alongside pistachios can help in this situation. Moreover, pine nuts can strengthen the bones, which is also necessary for a vegan diet because the foods on this diet are not that rich in calcium or potassium to empower the bones. Read about other health benefits of pine nuts.

  • Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are a great source of unsaturated fats, mostly monounsaturated fat, which is so helpful to prevent heart diseases such as heart attacks or strokes.

Every ounce of this nut contains 17 grams total fat that 15 grams of it are unsaturated fat. Moreover, hazelnuts also contain magnesium and calcium, both are good for bone health. Hazelnuts are one of the best nuts you can add to any diets.

  • Macadamia Nuts

With a high amount of calories, even more than any other nuts, Macadamia nuts can boost your energy during the day because most of the foods on a vegan diet have low calories.

This nut also has a high amount of fat, which is mostly considered healthy fats. Being rich in dietary fiber and protein, this nut is even so helpful for those who are trying to lose weight.

Protein and dietary fiber help the body digest the food but at the same time, they make you feel full for a longer time. Therefore, people who eat macadamia nuts usually don’t feel hungry for a while.

That makes them eat less unhealthy foods and snacks. Giving energy and lowering the eagerness to eat more, macadamia nuts are a great choice to add to your vegan weight loss diet. Read more about the health benefits of macadamia nuts.

Only a couple of macadamia nuts kernels can provide energy during the day.

Bottom Line

The vegan diet is so healthy and full of great foods. But at some points, since plant-based foods and vegetables are mostly low in calories and protein and somehow doesn’t have the necessary minerals and vitamins as much as animal-based products, it’s important to follow this diet with more considerations.

Since nuts are usually packed with a high amount of protein, fiber, and vitamins, it’s important for vegans to add nuts to their diet to avoid any deficiency in their body.

This article is written based on the researches that Natural Moreish has done on these sites: nutfruit, healthline, and webmd. Natural Moreish doesn’t have any claim about the information on this post.

About the author Mia is an Australian recipe-developer, content creator and a food influencer at natural Moreish. She has best information about nutrition. She loves all things food and snacks. She enjoys sharing food the way she does, so you’ll find lots of tips and tricks to make something truly delicious and be confident doing it. 

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