As a vegetarian, it's crucial that you get your necessary vitamins and minerals, so you'll need supplements. Here are the best for your vegetarian diet plan.
The vegetarian life is good for your health and great for the environment.
Choosing to be vegetarian also has positive effects on the planet as a whole. Believe it or not, a vegetarian diet that does not include meat, eggs or dairy is better for the environment than a Prius by 50%!
However, given that vegetarians do not consume meat, there is naturally a fear that there are some essential vitamins and minerals you could be missing out on.
Today, we will be discussing certain supplements which you can take to help you keep up with your necessary vitamins and minerals without needing to sacrifice your vegetarian diet plan.
The supplements you need depends on your Vegetarian Diet Plan
Each of these diet choices comes with its own implications. For example, vegans will commonly lack the vitamin B-12 which is found in most dairy products, whereas flexitarians who consume cheese, milk, and eggs would not have this problem.
All this to say that knowing what supplements you need always starts with knowing what you may be lacking in the first place.
The main nutrients you may be missing:
Omega-3 fatty acids
The consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids goes hand and hand with having a good heart. If you don't eat fish or eggs, you will need a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids.
In food, omega-3 fatty acids are found in certain oils such as canola and soy.
It is also found in grains such as walnuts, soybeans, and ground flaxseed.
Some supplements you can take are omega and fish oil tablets.
Your metabolism is regulated by the thyroid hormone and the thyroid hormone is linked to Iodine.
Vegans especially may not be consuming enough Iodine given that this nutrient is found mostly in dairy products.
To keep on top of it, make sure to get your daily helping of potatoes, soybeans and even a fourth of a teaspoon of Iodized salt every day can help you prevent Iodine deficiency!
When you don't have meat in your diet, it can be harder to get the necessary and recommended amount of protein in on a daily or weekly basis.
If your vegetarian diet plan allows you to eat eggs and fish, then it might be easier for you. In the case that you cannot, don't worry. Protein is easily found elsewhere.
In fact, one can get a sufficient amount of protein from plants such as lentils, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Be sure to consume a variety of these in your day.
Protein supplements such as whey or protein powder go well in smoothies or mixed into your food.
Iron and zinc
Much like B-12, Iron is an important part of the creation of red blood cells. Vegetarians are often advised to consume double the recommended intake of Iron since it can be difficult to get the necessary amount into your vegetarian diet plan.
Dried fruit and fruits in general such as strawberries, oranges, lemons (and other citrus fruits) and tomatoes as well as veggies such as cabbage and broccoli and other leafy greens contain a sufficient amount of Iron.
In the same breath, Zinc is another mineral important to always have in the back of your mind as a vegetarian. Zinc plays a large role in the protein creation process and can be found in grains, soy, nuts, and wheat.
As we mentioned previously, B-12 is often lacking from the vegan diet. A severe lack of B-12 correlates with anemia. This vitamin helps your body create red blood cells and is extremely important to include in your vegan or vegetarian diet plan.
Not having this in your diet can contrarily make you feel weaker and more tired.
To prevent B-12 deficiency, you can stock up on vitamin-fortified cereals, soy products, and a B-12 supplement.
Calcium and vitamin D
Calcium is recommended as it strengthens your bones as well as your teeth. While calcium is obviously found in dairy products, you can also find it in particular vegetables.
These include dark and leafy greens- broccoli, kale, spinach to name only a few.
Calcium is also found in soy products. So, replace milk with soy products and your meat with tofu!
If you don't intake enough calcium through food, a Vitamin D supplement can help maintain your bone strength just as well as calcium products would.
Other aspects of vegetarianism to think about
Now that you know the recommended vitamins and minerals that you may need to replace with a supplement, there are also other things to consider.
The more you incorporate certain foods and certain supplements into your diet the more you will eventually make it a habit. However, if you are not specifically mindful of the types of foods you are consuming it can damaging to your health.
Especially given the fact the vegetarian junk food is found everywhere. But, while potato chips and candy is vegan or veg, these snacks are certainly not a good source of any type of nutrients.
Even Oreos are vegan, but we don't recommend that you go and become an Orea-etarian!
Supplements are important even for non-vegetarians
The benefits of taking certain vitamins and minerals as a supplement to your regular diet can benefit your health even if your diet does include meat, milk and other dairies.
If you have specific questions about your diet and your health concerns, it is always recommended that you contact your doctor, especially if you are just starting to decrease your meat consumptions and adapt a vegetarian lifestyle.
Last but not least, if you would like to learn more about what supplements to mix into your Vegetarian Diet Plan, you can always read more on our blog.