6 Nutrients Vegans Need and How to Get Them

Going vegan is good for your health and the environment. But vegans need to be cautious about getting certain nutrients, just like every other diet out there.

Contrary to popular belief, you can get all the nutrients you need from plant-based foods. Here are 6 important nutrients and how to get them.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products including poultry, meat, fish, milk and eggs.

This vitamin helps with digestion, mood, memory, heart health and so on. People who are vitamin B12 deficient may experience fatigue, depression, mood disorder and stress.

Research shows that most people (including meat-eaters) are vitamin B12 deficient, so it’s worth taking a second look at your diet for the following foods.

Vegan sources:spirulina, other algae, barley grass, sprouts, nori, other types of seaweed, tempeh, fortified milk substitutes, other fortified packaged foods (meat substitutes and breakfast cereals), mushrooms, miso, fermented foods and nutritional yeast

Related: Can You Prevent Brain Impairment With B Vitamins?

Calcium

Calcium helps keep our bones and teeth strong. Unfortunately, most people donít get enough calcium. Data shows that 75 percent of Americans are calcium deficient.

Luckily, milk isnít the only source of calciumóand far from the best. You can get calcium from plant-based foods, and the good news is these foods contain other nutrients like vitamin K, magnesium and potassium essential for bone health.

Vegan sources: kale, collard greens, tahini, almond butter, soybeans, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, and blackberries. Here are more vegan calcium sources.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids have many benefits like fighting inflammation and keeping cholesterol levels balanced.

Data shows that most people donít get enough omega 3s. The U.S government recommends that male adults should consume 1.6 g of omega 3s per day while women should aim for 1.1g.

Vegans can reach the recommended daily intake without eating fish.

Vegan sources: Flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cabbages, wild rice, vegan omega 3 and DHA supplements.

Iodine

We donít need a lot of iodine in our diets, but vegans have a higher risk of iodine deficiency since they donít eat seafood, dairy products and eggs.

Low intake of this nutrient can ruin thyroid function, slow brain development in children and can cause miscarriages.

Vegan sources: Iodized salt, iodine supplements and sea vegetables.

Iron

Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells, and it helps transport oxygen to all cells in the body. Not getting enough iron can cause weakness, pale skin and fatigue.

Scientists say that vegans and vegetarians need 1.8 times more iron than the general public. This is because the body doesnít absorb iron from plant foods as efficiently as it absorbs iron from animal foods.

Related: How to Maximize Your Iron Absorption

Vegan sources: lentils, tofu, soybeans, collard greens, quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, cashews, pumpkin, squash, sunflower, prune juice and fortified cereals.

Zinc

Itís easy for non-vegans to get zinc from fish, beef, poultry and liver, but most vegans tend to overlook this nutrient. Zinc regulates estrogen, boosts testosterone production, improves eyesight and strengthens the immune system.

The recommended daily intake for men is 11 mg and 8 mg for women.

Vegan sources: oats, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, nutritional yeast, peanuts, kidney beans, black beans and peanuts.

Do you get adequate amounts of these nutrients?

148 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S1 months ago

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Jerome S
Jerome S1 months ago

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joan s
joan silaco1 months ago

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Jan S
Jan S2 months ago

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Susie Scargill
Susie Scargill2 months ago

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Lisa Zarafonetis
Lisa Zarafonetis2 months ago

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman2 months ago

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Patricia D
Patricia D2 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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