All Essential Nutrients to Add to Your Daily Plant-based Diet
You have probably heard time and time again from your mother and the doctors nagging about eating the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Whether you are vegan or not, including a balance of all the micro and macronutrients is paramount to sustainable living. A host of questions are usually bombarded around vegans from repetitive protein questions to how do you live without spicy chicken wings. Another common dilemma that adds kink to the whole picture is - To supplement or not? It’s become one of those sticky debate topics like religion or politics.
It is no mystery that a vegan diet has many health advantages. Vegan or not - It’s a sad reality that the modern food production system has made it difficult to get all the nutrients from diet alone. The lack of fresh produce, stress, pollution, environmental factors all mandates the requirement of supplements. Supplements will help to renew cells, free from radicals, fight off infections.
So it’s very important to look at what nutrients your menu is lacking. With help of our nutritionist, Dr Shweta, we have listed down some top supplements from plant based omega 3 supplements to Vitamin B 12 - you need to keep an eye on as a vegan.
Vitamin B 12
It does take years to develop a B12 deficiency, but years together of a vegan diet could deplete you with Vitamin B12. We need this vitamin for producing red blood cells, for circulation, healthy heart and the nervous system.
Vitamin B12 is produced by the bacteria in the soil that’s around plants. Logically, you should be getting them from unwashed vegetables. Our modern-day lifestyle demands to not only wash the vegetables but manufacturers also clean them with chlorine for sanitisation purposes. Farmed Animals usually gaze on raw plant foods and animals too are given B12 supplements so it eventually ends up in their flesh. That’s how meat-eaters get their share of B 12 vitamin and vegans don’t.
Dr Shweta’s recommendation - Wellbeing Nutrition Melts Vitamin B12 Oral Strips For Brain & Heart Health - 100% Natural
This popular sunshine supplement is responsible for your healthy bone, teeth, and muscle rejuvenation. How many of us stand for 30 minutes in midday sun every single day? Our busy schedules and harmful UV radiations have a different plan for us. Vegan or not, vitamin D is poorly found in food and need to be supplemented, especially if you are living in hilly areas like Coorg, Himachal and the like. You don’t need to take this supplement every day, just once a month would do the trick.
Dr Shweta’s Supplement Recommendation - Focelite Black Currant Vitamin D3 Chewables
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 gains a lot of attention from the nutrition world and for a good reason. Omega-3 has a say in your blood pressure regulations, brain health, cell wall building, blood clotting, cholesterol levels, and other vital functions. Although there is an abundance of omega-3 in plant-based sources like nuts and seeds. Remember, it’s only ALA that needs to be converted into EPA, DHA, and our bodies are not great at doing that. Algae is the only plant source with Even carnivores need to eat fish twice a week to get the optimal amount. The recommended amount of DHA is 200-300 mg per day.
Dr Shweta’s Supplement Recommendation - BillionCheers Omega-3 Capsules For Bones & Joint Health
Vitamin B12 and iron are the holy grail of vegan supplements. When it comes to iron (especially women) vegans and vegetarians need to pay extra attention to assess if they are getting enough from their diet. Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world. It leads to lesser production of red blood cells which causes anaemia, fatigue, tiredness and lower immunity.
There are two types of iron - heme and non-heme, heme is found in animal sources and non-heme from plants. The painful truth is that heme is easily absorbed by the body, whereas non-heme is not. But fret not, my vegan friends these supplements will make your life easier.
Dr Shweta’s Supplement Recommendation - OZiva Bettr.Iron+ Capsule For Improved Hemoglobin
Two major issues from a vegan diet are that it’s either harder to be absorbed from plant-based sources or they lack from it completely. When it comes to zinc, vegans are challenged with both of these problems. Hence, it becomes important to pay special heed to your zinc as vegans. This mineral is responsible for preventing cell damage, cell division, red blood cells generation and immunity. The recommended account is only 40 mg/day, so keep an eye out for supplements that are higher than the advised amount.
Dr Shweta’s Supplement Recommendation - Ontodot Natural Immunity Booster Tablets With Amla & Zinc For Adults
The main reason why calcium is often discussed in a vegan diet is because of its strong association with cow's milk. It’s the first ingredient that comes to mind when someone mentions calcium. Yes, there are plant-based calcium sources like edamame, chia, green vegetables, ragi and others, but not significant amounts. You should be taking 10 spoons or 100g of chia seeds every day to get recommended 600 mg/day.
Dr Shweta’s Supplement Recommendation - Nutracology Calcium Advance Calcium - Citrate 1000mg with Vitamin D3
Iodine is a tricky supplement, deficiency can cause tiredness, enlarged thyroids, weight gain, depression and susceptibility to infections, but an overdose of it is harmful to your thyroids. The key is to get 150 mg/ day for adult men and women. The quality of iodine content in the food depends on the iodine in the soil and water the plant was grown in. A lot of farming practices could come in the way of that. Sea vegetables like seaweed is an excellent source of vegan iodine, if do not have access to the sea, table salt and supplements are the best way to go.
Achieving a Well-balanced Nutritional Plant-based Diet with the Right Supplements
Now that you are aware of the exact vitamins you need, achieving a well balanced vegan diet should not be so hard. Now with every piece of information you need at the tip of your finger, you can invariably avoid all the pitfalls. Plenty of vegetables, whole grains, pulses, beans, fruit, small amounts of nuts, seeds and of course key vegan supplements every day will cover your complete nutritional needs. Take a deep breath and take a step back, you can go back to well-known basics such as dal and rice for your meal rotation. Check out your vegan companions.
You do not need a super fancy supplement and powders. Besides what Instagrammers and brands have let us believe, veganism is in fact budget-friendly. With a little help from affordable supplements and a blanched diet, a vegan diet can give you everything you need.