People follow the vegan diet for its health benefits and as a preventive measure against the development of chronic diseases. In this type of eating habit, you avoid consuming all types of animal-based food and by-products. Instead, you pack your meals with plant-based foods containing a rich nutrient profile. Likewise, there is also a heightened peril of nutrient-deficiency. This is because these nutrients can only be attained from animal-based food sources. In this article, we will discuss nutrients that you must supplement when on a vegan diet.
Vitamin B12 is easily available through animal-based food, but it is not found in most plant-based foods. Because of this, people who follow a vegan diet are more susceptible to the deficiency of this nutrient. This causes anemia, bone and heart disease, and infertility. Remember that vitamin B12 is required for protein metabolism, proper functioning of the nervous system, and the formation of red blood cells. Moreover, to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency, you must include nori, nutritional yeast, chlorella, spirulina, and mushrooms grown in vitamin B12 rich soil in your vegan meal.
Our body can only absorb phosphorus and calcium in the presence of the fat-soluble vitamin named vitamin D. Apart from this, it is required for proper immune system functioning, muscle recovery, cognitive functions like memory, and mood. You must know that most foods do not naturally contain vitamin D. So, its deficiency is equally prevalent in both vegans and omnivores.
Sunlight is considered the perfect source of vitamin D. When our skin gets exposed to sunlight, this nutrient gets produced. So, health care experts recommend that you must spend 15 minutes in the midday sun to get enough vitamin D.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are two categories of omega-3 fatty acids, and they are the following:
- Essential omega-3 fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), which you can get only from your diet.
- Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Studies have shown that vegans and vegetarians have 50% lower concentrations of EPA and DHA in their tissues and blood. Their deficiency causes issues like ADHD, depression, inflammation, and breast cancer. So, vegans must eat ALA-rich foods like walnuts, seeds like chia and hemp, and also soybeans. They should also supplement EPA and DHA produced from plant-based sources.
These are the top nutrients that you must supplement when following a vegan diet, and we hope that you found the above-shared information useful.