A Well-Aged Vegan: Eating for Heart, Brain, and Gut Health

Rumor has it that I am getting older. The fact that my oldest “child” is going to be 30 in less than six months suggests that this might be true, but I am not sure I believe it. However, the medical establishment assures me that it is true.

That being the case, I am having to make some dietary adjustments to attempt to deal with medical issues that apparently come with age. I’m not going to bore you, or me, with a list of the medical nonsense that I have been dealing with.

But, I will share some info about some of the quality choices you might make, and that I am making, for vegan gut health and heart/brain health.

For Gut Health and Beyond

Really, this applies to everyone, not just vegans. But, if you are vegan and aren’t really doing much for your biotic wellbeing, now is a good time to start. And, as you get older, this gets even more important, as hormonal changes can create biome issues beyond the gut, #ifyouknowwhatImean.

So, what to do? Decrease your sugar intake and your processed food intake, take a probiotic, and then incorporate some or all of the following regularly into your diet:

  • Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Sauerkraut (look for good sauerkraut, not the kind that comes in a can)
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir (obviously, look for vegan kefir; it does exist)
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles (again, the less processed the better)
  • Yogurt (unsweetened; you can even make your own)
  • Tempeh

The doc who I worked with on this advised me to work these foods into my diet like it’s my job!

For Heart and Brain Health

It’s much easier to get omega 6 in your diet than omega 3, and research suggests that you want to keep the right ratio (ideally not more than 2x as much omega 6 than omega 3) and that supplements don’t work well for the omegas.

Reducing your processed foods (see above) will also help decrease your extra omega 6. So will cooking with oils lower in omega 6 (like avocado oil, olive oil, or even coconut oil). After that, the key is to add more omega 3. You can do that by adding the following to your diet:

  • Chia seeds
  • Ground linseed
  • Hemp seeds or oil
  • Ground flax seeds or oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sea vegetables
  • Purslane
  • Cauliflower and brussel sprouts

You don’t have to get all crazy with it, as limited amounts make a difference.

So, I’m trying to work some of the foods from the first list into every meal, and get a good amount serving or two from the second list a day. My recent strategy has been to have: for brunch, overnight oats with walnuts, chia seeds, and soy yogurt; and then for dinner, another food from the good bacteria list.

What are your strategies for these pieces of healthy vegan eating?