People who are vegan don’t eat any animal product such as egg, dairy and poultry. Vegan diets are low in nutrients which is enough present in animal products.
Some believe that vegan diet provides all nutrients and minerals that are necessary to nourish the body. Hence it is not true.
All you need is vegan supplements with your vegan diet.
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an important supplement for vegan. It is necessary for many processes of body functions such as formation of red blood cells, metabolization of protein and proper functioning of nervous system.
Deficiency of Vitamin b12 lead to anemia, infertility in women, osteoporosis, heart disease and damage of nervous system.
Anyone can have low Vitamin B12 level, but vegan have higher risks of deficiency of Vitamin B12.
Rich Sources of Vitamin B12
- Nori (a type of seaweed)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Vitamin B12 supplements
- Fortified foods or drinks
Iron plays an important role in formation of red blood cells and carry oxygen throughout the body. It is found in two forms Heme and Non Heme. Heme comes from animals and non heme comes from plants.
Vegan diet can provide adequate iron to body. Too little iron leads to anemia, fatigue. Deficiency of iron in pregnant women leads to premature delivery or low birth weight baby
Rich sources of iron:
- Dry fruits
- Whole grains
- Green leafy vegetables
There is a blood test to check the quantity of iron. Various iron supplements are recommended by doctors. High quantity of iron can be dangerous for the body.
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3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps in body to absorb of vital nutrients such as calcium and phosphorous. It boosts mood, memory or muscle recovery.
Rich sources of Vitamin D
- Dairy Products
- Fortified cereals
People can enough Vitamin D from sunlight. 15-20 minutes exposure to sunlight provide enough Vitamin D everyday. But this is not possible, usage of Sunscreen to prevent skin cancer reduces the production of Vitamin D.
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt are not sufficient to meet the requirements.
4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are categorized into two parts:
- Essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Alpha-linolenic acid(ALA) is the Essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids that body gets from diet.
- Long Chain Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Eicosapentaenoic acid(EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are not essential.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids plays a crucial role in:
- Brain development
- Prevents dementia
- Reduce depression
- Cystic Fibroids
- Lower the risks of heart disease
Rich sources of ALA Omega 3 fatty acids:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seed
- Fish oil
- Wamp seeds
Calcium plays a crucial role for bone and teeth health. It is also important for muscle function and heart health.
The rich sources of calcium are:
- Dark, leafy green such as bok choy, kale, mustard greens, turnip green, broccoli
- Fortified foods such as plant based milk and juices
- Chickpeas and calcium set tofu
If a person is not getting enough calcium from vegan diet, people can intake calcium supplements.
Iodine is crucial for healthy thyroid gland. Insufficiency of iodine leads to hypothyroidism. This can cause weight gain, depression, fatigue, depression and dry skin.
People can take enough iodine from seaweed, seafood, iodized salt, and dairy products. Vegans who are unable to take enough iodine from seaweed or iodized salt can take iodine supplements.
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Zinc is necessary for metabolism and the immune system. Too little consumption of zinc causes hair loss, diarrhea and delay in wound healing.
There are many plant foods containing zinc. However the absorption of zinc from plants is low due to phytate content in plants.
Other Sources of Zinc are:
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Wheat germ
- Sprouted breads
8. Vitamin K-2
Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and wound healing. It is divided into two parts:
- Vitamin K-1: It is present in dark green leafy vegetable.
- Vitamin K-2: This is present in dairy products and egg yolk. However vegans don’t eat poultry and dairy products. They should rely on other sources for Vitamin K-2 that is made by bacteria.
Examples of fermented foods which are rich in Vitamin K-2:
- Plant based kefir
- Vegan kimchi
- Raw sauerkraut
- Natto, a fermented soybean dish