Top Supplements For Vegans To Fill The Nutrient Gaps
Veganism is adhering to a plant-based diet that comprises fruits, vegetables, and starch only. While it is considered a healthy diet, vegans need to be cautious about vitamin and mineral shortages because some nutrients are more difficult to obtain from plants alone. As a result, there are specific supplements required for a vegan diet to prevent a nutrient deficiency.
Vegan diet – what is it and what are its benefits?
Veganism is exploding in popularity for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. It is a nutritional choice for some, but it is also a lifestyle decision for others. Research shows there are health benefits to following a vegan diet such as weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels to minimize the risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of some cancers, and managing diabetes. However, it is worth noting that a vegan diet does not necessarily guarantee optimal health.
Why vegans may need special supplements for their wellbeing
Although a vegan diet can be very nutritious if followed appropriately, there are still vitamins and minerals that are not as readily available as you would find in dairy and meat. As a vegan, you’ll need to discover new ways to include them in your diet. Because a vegan diet eliminates some food sources, people must carefully plan their meals to avoid nutritional deficits.
What might the vegan diet be missing?
Everyone benefits from a well-planned diet, but vegan diets are particularly at risk of inadequate levels of necessary vitamins. Vegans may find it challenging to eat enough nutrient-rich or fortified foods to meet their daily requirements while having to avoid non-plant foods that are abundant in certain minerals and vitamins. This is the primary reason why the following recommended supplements for vegans are highly beneficial.
Vitamin B12 is required for the creation of red blood cells, as well as nerve cell health and other important physiological functions. Dizziness and fatigue are the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency that can lead to anemia, nervous system damage, and other disorders. Vitamin B12 is found in large quantities in foods such as meat, fish, milk, and eggs, and very little is found in vegetables alone making this an important supplement for vegans.
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium for strong bones and protects against chronic bone diseases. Although few foods naturally contain the vitamin, many items, such as cereals, yogurt, and milk, are fortified with it. There are two groups of vitamin D, namely D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 increases overall vitamin D levels in the body more quickly and for longer than vitamin D2. The sole natural source of vitamin D3 is animal food.
Calcium is a key vitamin for healthy bones and teeth and plays a role in heart health and muscle and nerve function. A calcium deficiency disease can occur when calcium levels in the blood are too low. A long-term calcium deficiency can result in dental problems, cataracts, brain abnormalities, and osteoporosis. Cheese, yogurt, salmon, and milk are rich sources of calcium, which are not included in the vegan diet.
Beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant, helps protect against cancer and aging. It plays a vital role where the body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A. Deficiencies in these vitamins can impair immunity, cause cirrhosis of the liver and pancreatic disorders. Because vitamin A-rich foods come from animals, such as beef liver, it’s important for vegans to get a sufficient daily dose of beta carotene to meet the requirements of good vitamin A levels.
The body is a vital element needed for endocrine health, reproduction, and infection resistance. Fish, beef, and poultry are the best sources for selenium, which are not included in a vegan diet. A selenium deficiency causes infertility in both men and women, fatigue, muscle weakness, cognitive decline, and a weakened immune system.
Iodine is required for the thyroid gland to function properly to support growth, brain development, and the body’s energy burn rate. In a balanced diet, seafood, dairy products, and eggs can provide sufficient amounts of iodine. An iodine deficiency can impact hearing, mental aptitude, swelling of the thyroid gland, and hypothyroidism so it’s an important supplement for vegans.
The body cannot produce this necessary fatty acid, so it is obtained from certain foods that include cold-water fatty fish such as mackerel. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for cellular, heart, blood vessels, and lung health, and for the immune system. Fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings, and poor circulation are all symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid insufficiency. Vegans need an omega-3 supplement as fish is not part of the vegan diet.
The best sources of iron are pork, poultry, red meat, and seafood. Anemia is a common result of an iron deficiency. This condition is when the blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells to cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues leaving you tired and short of breath. Iron supplements are a good substitute for meat products.
Zinc is a vital mineral for optimum health and needed for enzymes to function, it keeps the immune system in check, and helps repair tissues. Because your body does not store zinc, you must consume enough every day to meet your daily requirements. Red meat is a particularly good source, but it is also found in shellfish, dairy, and eggs, which is not part of the vegan diet.
Vitamin K is required for blood coagulation, bone health, and other functions. Excessive bleeding due to an inability to form blood clots is the most common symptom of vitamin K insufficiency. Vitamin K is derived from meat, liver, and dairy so vegans are at risk of a deficiency without the necessary supplement.
Pea protein powder
Pea protein isolates have a comprehensive amino acid profile containing all 21 amino acids that aid the body’s ability to repair and create new cells. Pea protein’s profile is high in protein and low in fat without the allergens. It can be added to smoothies and sprinkled over meals.
Red meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish and animal by-products are not part of the vegan’s diet, and many vital nutrients are excluded. Children, in particular, require a lot of energy and protein to grow and develop, thus it’s critical for vegan kids to take supplements to acquire enough vitamins. It is also important for vegans who have nut allergies.
However, on the whole, all vegans must ensure they include essential nutrients for overall health and wellbeing. Supplements are the best way to ensure you are getting everything your body needs for optimal functioning while enjoying a vegan diet.
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