Vegan diets have become a popular diet trend across the globe in recent years. While many are following the plant-based diet for health or weight loss reasons, some experts say we may not get the vital nutrients we require for our bodies to function well.
Nutritionist Kim Pearson reveals five nutrients that may be hard to get on a vegan diet, according to a news portal.
1. Vitamin B12
Multiple studies have found that people who are on a vegan or vegetarian diet are at higher risk of having a B12 deficiency than those who consume meat. Muscle weakness, mouth ulcers and low levels of energy are some of the symptoms of the condition. This vitamin is required in the process of protein metabolism and to help form red blood cells, which helps to transport oxygen all over the body. You can find B12 in fish, eggs, meat and dairy, which are all products that are eliminated in a vegan diet.Pearson recommends taking a supplement if you are not getting this nutrient from your diet.
Iron is a vital nutrient our bodies require because it helps to carry oxygen in the blood, as well as create new red blood cells and DNA. Iron also works to give our metabolism a boost. That is why you tend to feel fatigued and exhausted if you have low levels of it. "Non-animal iron sources (known as non-heme iron) are less easily absorbed by our bodies compared to heme iron, which puts vegans at greater risk of deficiency," Pearson told a news portal. "Eating a diet rich in plant sources of iron such as cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and kale) peas, beans, nuts and seeds is advisable, " she recommends. It is also beneficial to consume lots of vitamin C rich foods like peppers and citrus fruits as it aids iron absorption.
Dairy products are the most common sources of calcium. However, on a vegan diet, these products are a big no-no. 1000mg is the recommended daily allowance of calcium. Kale, bok choy, broccoli and chickpeas are good plant sources of the nutrient. "If you don’t regularly eat these foods, you may wish to consider a supplement, but supplementing calcium should be approached with caution," Pearson told a news portal.Adding "Take a moderate dose in a well-absorbed form and remember that calcium competes with iron, zinc and magnesium for absorption, so supplement these nutrients at separate meals."
4. Omega 3
"There are three main kinds of omega-3s: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Many of the benefits associated with omega 3 are the result of the actions of EPA and DHA," Pearson told a news portal. However, many vegans do not get enough omega 3 from the foods they consume. Pearson recommends consuming loads of flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts to get the recommended amount of this nutrient.
5. Vitamin D
"Most of our vitamin D is made by our skin when it’s exposed to the sun, however, the negative impacts of UV rays on our skin are a strong counter-argument against too much sun exposure," Pearson told a news portal. Food sources like fatty fish, beef liver, eggs and cheese are eliminated on a vegan diet. "Try BetterYou’s Vegan Health Oral Spray which contains a high dose of vitamin D along with B12 and iron," Pearson recommends.
Consult with your doctor before making changes to your diet.