Veganism has become greatly popular in the last few years as a result of the increased coverage of the health and environmental benefits that come with eating a plant-based diet. For many people, veganism is relatively new, and some may find that they are struggling to consume all of the vitamins and minerals that they need. Whilst some people can access the nutrients needed through the vegan diet alone, with increasingly busy lifestyles getting in the way, supplements can be the best option for some people! Let’s take a look at the supplements you should be taking.
This vitamin is essential to ensure that your brain function is strong, your red blood cells and nerves remain healthy and that you avoid various other health problems including trouble walking and shortness of breath. This is especially important if you are pregnant or nursing as it can lead to anemia. B12 is found in animal products such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk products, hence people eating a plant-based diet could struggle to access the vitamin. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to supplements, Vitamin B12 is an important one!
Probiotics are essential for healthy digestive and immune functions, yet the issue for vegans is that most probiotic supplements are made using fermented dairy products. The immune system would be unable to protect the body as it does without the probiotics that live in our intestinal tract so it is vital to incorporate them into our diet. There are some great vegan health supplements available on the market to ensure your gut is healthy, with some containing up to 5 different strains of live bacteria to protect our bodies.
Not consuming enough iron can lead to problems such as anemia, fatigue and decreased immune function. There are two types of iron, heme (found in animal products) and non-heme (found in plants). Whilst non-heme iron can be accessed in many vegan foods such as cruciferous vegetables, beans, peas and nuts, as well as iron-fortified foods like certain plant milks and cereals, the body finds it more difficult to absorb than heme iron. This is where iron supplements can come in handy for plant-based eaters.
In order to have a good metabolism, strong immune function and the ability to repair body cells, Zinc is an essential mineral. Unfortunately, few plant foods contain high amounts of zinc as it is mainly found in red meat and poultry. It is possible to consume the required amount of zinc through a plant-based diet alone. This can be done by maximising your intake of foods rich in zinc, such as whole grains, tofu, seeds and nuts. This can be time consuming, so for those of you who don’t have time to properly prepare nutrient dense meals, take supplements to ensure your essential bodily functions are working properly.
Whilst in some cases it is possible to access the vitamins and minerals you need through a plant-based diet alone, for many people supplements are the way to go. With veganism consistently becoming more prominent in society, supplements are easier to find than ever, helping you to enjoy the benefits of a plant-based diet without any concern.