Benefits of Vegan Diets

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Going vegan has lots of health benefits, like lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some cancers. You just need a little planning to make sure you're getting the fuel you need.

A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including dairy. So it's easy to miss certain key nutrients that are crucial to health. Protein, calcium, vitamins D and B12, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, and Iodine -- they are all harder to get when you are vegan.

In most cases, you can get them from plants. But you may need to take a daily supplement for some nutrients like B12 or calcium because it's hard to get enough from plant sources. And certain nutrients, like iron and zinc, are harder to absorb from plant-based foods. Good news is, a lot of foods, like cereal, are fortified to include these nutrients, which can make it easier to get them into your meal plan.

Best bet
Talk to a nutritionist, or get familiar with vegan cooking. With the right planning, you can have a fully balanced diet, meat-free. For WebMD, I'm Dr. Michael Smith.