Over 16.5 million people consider themselves vegetarians, totalling roughly 5 percent of the US population 1. Of those 16.5 million, roughly 1.6 million prefer to eat a vegan diet, meaning that they do not consume or use any animal products. Despite the plant-based food vegans and vegetarians prefer, many are lacking nutrients necessary for their body to function properly.
Those who aren’t including animal proteins in their diets may be failing to get enough of the nutrients their bodies need. While it is certainly possible to get ample protein without eating meat, there are some nutrients that are hard to come by-or completely unattainable-through plant-based foods alone.
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your culinary ethics in order to stay healthy, or vice versa. That’s we’re bringing you this thorough list of nutrients and supplements to ensure your diet is hitting all the marks.
Vitamin B12 supports many bodily processes from: brain function to red blood cell development. Deficiency can manifest in symptoms as small as general fatigue or a feeling of weakness all the way to impaired brain function and neurological and psychiatric disorders. Research currently suggests possible links between B12 deficiency and Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal sources, so vegetarians can easily get the nutrient from dairy products and eggs, and some vegan--friendly foods such as bread and cereal are enriched with B12. Still, it may be difficult to get the recommended amount without supplementation. We recommend Biotics Research B12 Lozenges.
We have all heard about how calcium is essential for bone health through our school years. Thankfully, it’s easier to get calcium from natural, non-animal sources than B12 or Omega 3 fatty acids can be. For vegetarians, dairy is an important source, while vegans can stock with veggies like kale and broccoli. There are also some calcium-fortified foods like tofu or plant-based milk alternatives that can help you reach the recommended daily intake. If you find that you’re still not getting there, try Nature’s Way Alive! Tablets.
Zinc is important for wound healing and cellular repair, but we can’t store it in our bodies, so it’s important to make sure our diets contain plenty. Dairy and eggs can do the trick for vegetarians, and everyone can enjoy whole grains, soy, legumes, and nuts and seeds.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are vital for reducing inflammation and keeping both the brain and the immune system at their best. Seafood is the primary source of Omega 3 fatty acids in most American diets, but you can also get it from flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Chances are that if you don’t eat meat, you are not going to get enough daily iron. This is doubly true if you are a woman of childbearing age. Iron is needed in order for your red blood cells to properly transport oxygen throughout your body. Veggies like spinach and swiss chard, as well as beans are all good sources of iron, but you have to eat an immense serving to meet daily requirements, so make sure to supplement if you’re falling short.
See Our Selection
Maintaining a plant-based diet without sacrificing your nutrient status can be tough, but taking supplements can help. Check out Agape’s wide selection of all-natural products to help you feel, and be, your best.