Vegan is a lifestyle that is gaining a lot of popularity lately. A number of people around the world have given up on meat and dairy products completely and have adopted the vegan life. One basic concern about having a vegan diet is whether or not your body is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals or not.
A lot of people argue that the whole plant based diet completely provides all the necessary nutrients and advice people even to avoid taking any supplements, but the truth is that this advice can do way more harm than good. We have made a list of some essential nutrients that every vegan should incorporate into their daily life to stay fit and healthy. Let’s begin!
A number of studies have shown that anyone can have a deficiency of vitamin b12, but it is most commonly found in people who have a vegan lifestyle. It is prevalent especially in those vegans who do not take any supplements. This vitamin is very important for the major bodily processes including the formation of red blood cells, protein metabolism, etc. It also ensures your nervous system is healthy. If there is a lack of vitamin b12 in your body diseases like anemia, infertility, heart diseases and bone diseases can occur. Your nervous system can also be damaged.
Vitamin D increases the amount of calcium and phosphorous that can be absorbed in our gut. It also ensures that the immune system, memory, mood and the muscles are functioning smoothly. Around 600 IU which is 15 mcg of Vitamin D is required by the body every day and this is difficult to achieve when one is on a vegan diet. Very less food have Vitamin D in them, and thus the intake of this supplement is always insufficient. The best way to intake vitamin D is by exposing yourself to the sun for around 15 minutes every day.
If you wish to maintain a healthy thyroid functioning which controls the metabolism, iodine intake is essential. Extreme iodine deficiency during pregnancy and in infants can even result in mental retardation. If we are talking about adults, insufficient iodine intake can cause hypothyroidism which can cause depression, forgetfulness, weight gain, low energy levels, etc. Vegans are more exposed to iodine deficiency, and reports show that vegans have 50% lower iodine in their blood as compared to vegetarians. The iodine content of plants largely depends on the iodine content of the soil. The only food products that are rich in iodine are iodized salt, seaweed, seafood and dairy products. Thus, it is recommended that vegans should take iodine supplements on a daily basis.
Iron is pivotal when it comes to the production of red blood cells and the DNA. It also plays an important role in energy Fatigue, anemia and reduced immune functioning are some of the consequences of insufficient iron intake. Heme is a form of iron which is only found in the animal product, and non-heme is found in plants. Heme gets absorbed in the body way more easily than non-heme thus vegans are advised to take food with iron 1.8 times more. They should also incorporate foods like peas, beans, nuts, seeds and dried fruits in their diet because they are rich in iron.
In order to keep your bones and teeth healthy, you need to take sufficient amount of calcium. It also plays a vital role when it comes to the functioning of the muscle, heart health, etc. Mustard greens, turnip, broccoli, chickpeas, kale, choy are some sources of calcium in plants, but studies have shown that vegans don’t have enough calcium in their bodies. One reason for this is that they lack in the mineral that is required to neutralise the acidity generated by a meat-rich diet. If the intake of calcium is less in the vegan community, they are more exposed to bone-related diseases and fractures.