How to gain weight if you are a vegan:
If you’re a vegan trying to gain weight, incorporating more healthy fats into your diet can be beneficial since they are a dense source of calories. Since many vegan foods are low in fat, you may have trouble incorporating a variety of high-fat foods into your diet. Furthermore, many vegans have low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids relative to their omega-6 fatty acid levels, which could contribute to whole-body inflammation. Consuming a good balance of the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids along with a moderate amount of tropical oils will help you increase your calorie intake and gain weight healthfully.
Benefits of Fats
Fat, particularly unhealthy saturated fat, has a reputation of clogging your arteries and packing on excess body fat. However, some fat it is essential for many bodily functions, such as vitamin absorption, hormone synthesis, and brain function. Additionally, if you’re underweight, your body needs extra dietary fat to cushion and repair your organs and increase sex hormone production, which is often low when your weight drops too much.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, one of the essential fatty acids you must consume through food or supplements, are essential for proper brain, nerve and eye function. Additionally, these fats lower inflammation in your body, perhaps reducing heart disease and cancer risk as a result. Alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in food and can be converted and elongated into the fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. However, less than 10 percent of ALA is converted to EPA and DHA. Since there are not many plant foods that contain EPA and DHA, incorporate plenty of ALA-rich foods such as flax seeds, hemp seeds, greens, canola oil and walnuts to help you gain weight.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Linoleic acid is the most common omega-6 fatty acid, and it is converted and elongated into gamma linolenic acid, or GLA. Linoleic acid is prevalent in many cooking oils with a high polyunsaturated fat content, such as soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and cottonseed oil, and foods such as pistachios, olives, soy and grains. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids work together in many physiological processes, and the relative amounts of each is essential for healthy function. A ratio of 1:1 to 1:4 omega-3 to omega-6 promotes reduced whole-body inflammation and lower risk of chronic disease. However, the omega-6 fatty acid content is disproportionately high in many American diets, so make sure your omega-6 consumption doesn’t overwhelm your omega-3 intake when you increase your fat consumption.
Tropical oils, such as coconut and palm oil, are one of the few sources of saturated fat in a vegan diet. Unlike saturated fat from animal sources, these plant-based saturated fats are composed primarily of medium-chain fatty acids such as lauric acid. The medium-chain fatty acids are metabolized differently than the long-chain fatty acids in animal products, making them more likely to be used for energy. The high tropical oil consumption and low heart disease risk in many Pacific Islander populations suggests that moderate consumption of unprocessed tropical oils can help you healthfully increase the fat content of your diet.