Consuming a vegan diet means you’re already health conscious and aware that what you put into your body matters, but are you making sure that you’re not missing out on the right nutrients? Being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re consuming all the nutrients you need for optimal health.
In fact, most vegans might find themselves short of a few necessary nutrients. You might be told that taking vitamins and being vegan doesn’t make sense and that you’re getting the right nutrients from your diet. But eating a diet excluding of all animal products and dairy also excludes your body of certain nutrients.
I’ve been Vegan for 10 months and found that taking supplements daily is what works best for me. You have to be careful and make sure that your vitamins are vegan-friendly and don’t contain any Whey, Casein, Milk, Eggs, Shellfish or Fish. The Vitamins I take are from Care Of, and they send you a box with 30 daily packs that you personalize on their site.
I’ve been Vegan for 10 months and have found what works best for me is taking daily vitamins. You have to be careful and make sure that your vitamins are vegan-friendly and don’t contain any Whey, Casein, Milk, Eggs, Shellfish or Fish. The vitamins I take are from Care Of, and they send you a box with 30 daily packs that you personalize to fit your needs on their website.
It’s a simple and care free way to ensure I’m getting all the nutrients missing from being vegan. You just grab your pack for the day, tear it open and take your daily vitamins based on your needs. In my pack, I have Vitamin B 12, Vegan Omega, Vitamin D, and Zinc. Their vitamin packs are also super adorable and come with fun facts and quotes, and your name right on them too
There are certain nutrients that are better to supplement, and some that you can easily work into a daily diet here’s what you need to know.
Vitamin B 12
This vitamin is naturally found in animal products, and a lack of Vitamin B 12 can lead to anemia and blindness. To ensure this doesn’t happen vegans should either supplement by taking a Vitamin B12 supplement daily, or by eating B 12 fortified foods such as plant milk, soy products, cereals and nutritional yeast. The daily recommended intake is 2.4 mcg per day for adults, 2.6 mcg per day during pregnancy and 2.8 mcg per day while breastfeeding.
We all know you need calcium to have strong bones and teeth, but when we think of calcium we think of milk. Being vegan you obviously aren’t drinking milk or eating dairy products high in calcium so you need to remedy this with a daily calcium supplement or by eating foods high in calcium. It’s recommended to take 1,000 mg calcium per day for most adults. Vegan sources of calcium are kale, mustard greens, broccoli, chickpeas, bok choy, and fortified plant milk or juices.
Lack of iron can lead to anemia and other issues such as fatigue and decreased immune function. The recommended dietary allowance is 8 mg for adult men and post-menopausal women. It increases to 18 mg per day for adult women, and pregnant women should aim for 27 mg per day. You can get iron from plant based foods such as vegetables, beans, peas, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Iron-fortified foods, such as cereals, enriched bread, and some plant milk.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
You can achieve your daily intake of Essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids by eating flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and soybeans. Long chain omega 3 fatty acids also known as EPA and DHA, are mostly found in animal products such as fatty fish and fish oil. Most health professionals agree that taking a 200–300 mg of a supplement containing EPA and DHA per day should be sufficient.
There are very few plant foods, and zinc fortified foods that contain a high amount of zinc to meet the daily nutritional needs. For this reason, it’s recommended that those on a vegan diet consume a daily zinc supplement to ensure proper daily intake. The RDA for zinc is currently 8-9 mg per day for adults, and 1-12 for a pregnant woman, 12-13 for lactating women.
The RDA for vitamin D for children and adults is 600 IU (15 mcg) per day. The elderly, as well as pregnant or lactating women, should aim for 800 IU (20 mcg) per day. Very few foods naturally contain Vitamin D and foods fortified with vitamin D are often considered insufficient to satisfy the daily requirements. Besides the small amount you get from your diet, vitamin D can also be made from sun exposure for at least 15 minutes without sunscreen. However many dermatologists warn against using direct sun exposure without SPF to get your daily Vitamin D. The best way to get ensure enough vitamin D is to take a supplement.
The day you decided to go vegan, was the day you made a choice to live a healthier, longer life. It’s a choice you should always be proud of, however making sure that you’re fulfilling all your nutritional needs is important.
Taking the necessary steps by visiting your doctor and doing blood work to test for any low levels is a great first step. From there you can come up with a plan on the right nutrients you need to supplement or incorporate into your daily diet. You can head to care of to take their free vitamin survey to see what you may need and get on the path to optimal health.