People follow a vegan diet mainly for health benefits, which is due to the high nutritional content and low-calorie density of most plant-based foods. This reduces the risk of developing diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular issues, heart attacks, etc. Also, it helps obese people to lose weight and promotes healthy body weight. However, vegans have a greater risk for developing some deficiency diseases because some of the micronutrients are not readily available from plant food. In this article, we will focus on supplements that vegans must include in their diet.
Vitamin B12 Isn’t Enough
Generally, people assume that vitamin B12 is the only supplement that vegans must take because it is not found in most plant-based foods. However, other micronutrients like vitamin K2, omega-3 fats, and iodine are not found in many foods consumed as part of the western plant-based diet. Last but not least, minerals like zinc and iron are not adequately absorbed from plant-based food.
Vitamin B12 is the most important dietary supplement that vegans must take. This nutrient is produced by bacteria found in the soil as well as the bacteria found in our colon. This means that the only way to get this nutrient is through our diet. The best sources of this nutrient are animal products like red meat, eggs, and fish. Vegans can get this nutrient by consuming vitamin B12 fortified foods like bread and cereal, nutritional yeast, and multivitamins.
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin because our body gets it primarily when the skin is exposed to UV rays in the sunlight. Those who follow vegan diet plans can get this nutrient by consuming fortified foods like plant-based milk, algae, and mushrooms.
Omega-3s DHA And EPA
The three types of omega-3 fatty acids are ALA, DHA, and EPA. ALA is available from food like chia seeds and other nuts and seeds that are good sources of healthy fats. However, DHA and EPA are not available from most plant-based food. So, vegans must supplement these nutrients in their diet.
Vitamin K2 is essential for managing bone health as it activates a protein that plays a key role in minerals binding to the bones. This nutrient is not easily available from plant-based food. It is found in food like miso and tempeh, but they are not preferred by all. Apart from this, vegans can take vitamin K2 supplements.
The other nutrients that vegans must supplement in their diet are the following: iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium.