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Essential Supplements for Vegans

With proper knowledge and planning, you can get all the nutrients that your body needs from a vegan diet.

Image source: Pinterest

The various health benefits that come from cutting out meat and dairy are numerous, but some vegans might still be missing out on essential vitamins and minerals. Most of these can be found in plant-based food sources, but others are found almost exclusively in animal products. No matter what diet you follow, everybody needs to be mindful of any essential nutrients that may be missing! Here’s how you can best plan for any potential deficiencies in a vegan diet.

Our bodies need vitamin D for the absorption and regulation of calcium – a nutrient essential for maintaining the health of our bones, muscles and teeth. The greatest source of vitamin D is from direct sunlight, but in a country where the sun prefers to stay hidden, most people aren’t getting the necessary amount. Foods like red meat, oily fish and egg yolk are good sources of the vitamin, meaning vegans may need to incorporate a daily supplement.  

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B12

Our bodies don’t make vitamin B12, so we need to get it from our diet. Yet again, the problem for vegans is that rich sources of B12 cannot be found in plants. The vitamin is essential to our blood and nerve cell health, and severe deficiency may lead to various health issues. It is, therefore, recommended that vegans take a daily supplement of B12, but discuss this with your doctor first. Some cereals and plant milks are fortified with B12, so check these out too.  

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Iron is used to make red blood cells and new DNA, so it is essential for growth and development in our bodies. A lack of iron can lead to anaemia. Whilst good sources of iron come from red meat, it can also be adequately obtained in a vegan diet from sources such as beans, chickpeas and sweet potatoes. Certain nuts and fruits also serve as iron-rich sources, like pistachios, bananas and apples. Be sure to incorporate these into your diet, as well as making sure that you’re consuming sufficient vitamin C (from vegetables and fruits) because this optimises iron absorption.  

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'It is recommended that vegans take a daily supplement of B12, but discuss this with your doctor first.'

We need zinc to aid the function of our immune system, and for growth and development. Foods in vegan diet may be high in phytate, and this can reduce zinc absorption. To combat low levels, it’s essential that you eat many zinc-rich foods. These include nuts, seeds, tofu and beans.  

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Swallowing down an orange, fish-shaped omega 3 gummy that loosely resembled a sweet as a child seems to be an experience we all shared. However, as we grew up, omega 3 found its way into our adult diets. You should no longer need to take any additional supplements, even if you’re a vegan. These fatty acids can be found in vegan favourites such as chia seeds, edamame, seaweed, flax seeds, and walnuts, so try incorporating these into your diet. 

Shop Omega 3 supplements here

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