Don’t you think what was once dismissed as just another fad diet trend has now hit the mainstream as a progressive movement? Veganism, unlike many other viral concepts, was able to tap into the eco-conscious side of the world and emerge as a lifestyle that went on from being rare to everywhere.
In fact, according to the Vegan Society’s research, many buyers across the world have stopped purchasing meat and are consciously checking cosmetics and toiletries for animal-testing. Also, people prefer meat-free or dairy-free meals when eating outside.
However, this type of diet has raised a few common questions over the years, such as whether a vegan diet provides the body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs? Or, do I need amino acid supplements to avoid health risks?
While many claims that a whole-food, plant-based diet will meet all the daily nutrients required, several nutritionists recommend taking necessary supplements while on a vegan diet.
Here are a few nutrients you may need if you choose to follow a strict vegan diet:
Important for many bodily processes, Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in maintaining your nervous system’s health. Too little of Vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, nervous system damage, infertility, and heart diseases. If you are on a completely vegan diet, the only reliable way to ensure your body has enough vitamin B12 is either by eating fortified foods or taking a supplement.
Iron plays a crucial role in producing red blood cells that help carry oxygen throughout your body. Some good sources of iron include broccoli, raisins, wheat, and tofu. If you are unable to get enough iron from your diet, you should consider taking supplements. However, it is advisable to consult your dietician as iron supplements are not recommended for everyone.
Protein comprises small parts called amino acids that are known to improve metabolism. Vegans must consider trying amino acid supplements, one a day, for a few weeks as their diet excludes the consumption of any meat or dairy products that are typically rich in protein.
The best way to add these supplements to your diet are:
- To take supplements post-workout
- To take a leucine-rich essential amino acid during a workout session.
Many vegans and omnivores have shown signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. The best way to ensure your body is receiving enough vitamin D is by having your blood vessels tested. If you cannot get the right amount from fortified foods and sunshine, you must consider taking a supplement.
Only a few plants contain high amounts of zinc. Moreover, some plant foods have limited zinc absorption due to their phytate content. Therefore, vegans unable to reach the zinc RDA should first focus on adding zinc-rich foods to their diets and consider taking a daily supplement to maintain the balance.
So, a well-planned vegan diet with the right amount of supplements can fulfil all your nutritional needs and allow you to follow your dream of living a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Moreover, once you take the leap, you will be pleasantly surprised to see how far vegan cooking has come.