Did you know that over sixty-six million people in the United States are vegetarian or vegan? More are being drawn to the diet than ever before — whether for health purposes or ethical reasons. Regardless of your reasons, it’s important to acknowledge some of the downsides of a diet without meat.
The biggest downside to these diets is that they often miss important vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function. If you don’t eat meat, then don’t panic. A simple vegetarian supplement can provide your body with all the missing vitamins that it needs to function properly. So what types of supplements should you add to your diet?
In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about rounding out your plant-based diet. Let’s get started!
Five Different Supplements You Need for Vegetarian or Vegan Diet
The amount of vitamins you need from supplements depends heavily on your diet. However, some certain vitamins and minerals are usual problem spots for plant-based diets. It’s also important to note that vegans typically need these types of vitamins more than vegetarians.
That’s because vegetarians can get a lot of them from an egg and dairy products. However, it’s still important to check if you have any blind spots. So, here are five different vitamins that you should consider getting in supplement form.
1. Vitamin B-12
You can usually find vitamin B-12 in certain types of mushrooms, produce and nutritional yeast. The type of vitamin plays a vital part in the protection of our nervous systems. Without it, you are much more prone to developing things like anaemia, infertility, nervous system damage and heart disease.
However, just because you eat the right foods doesn’t mean you get enough of them in your diet. Your body can be B-12 deficient even when you do eat foods that are rich in it.
As such, vegetarians and vegans are at an even higher risk of being deficient. So, this is one of the most important vitamins that you should take when on a plant-based diet. Generally speaking, you should try to get at least 2,000 mcg of vitamin B-12 into your diet.
2. Omega 3
There are two types of omega 3 fatty acids: long chain and essential. Most of the time you can get essential fatty acids from your food. Think of things like soybeans, walnuts and flax seeds. However, long-chain omega 3 fatty acids need to be converted from essential fatty acids. Unfortunately, these long-chain fatty acids come with an extremely low conversion rate.
That means you need to ingest a lot more of them to get the necessary amount needed in your diet. Fish oils are not the only way you can get omega 3 fatty acids.
You can also go vegan and get it from things like algae oil. Just make sure you find a manufacturer that makes that distinction. Most of the time you shouldn’t need more than 200–300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is incredibly important and influences everything from immune protection, to memory and muscle building. However, perhaps its most important function is allowing for the uptake of calcium and phosphorus. Without adequate supplies of the fat-soluble material, our guts are unable to absorb these two important minerals.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many foods that are rich in vitamin D. Luckily, there is another option: you can spend around fifteen minutes in strong sunlight.
The downside to this is that you can’t wear sunscreen, which can cause serious skin damage. It also isn’t viable for people living in cold weather climates. As such, a fortified D-2 version of it should help make up for anything that’s lacking.
Calcium plays an important role in bone and teeth health. Unfortunately, many vegetarians that don’t eat dairy are lacking it in their diet. You can find it in plant foods like bok choy, broccoli, kale, chickpeas and tofu. However, it’s important to get the proper amount of vitamin D before you worry about calcium.
This is because the effectiveness of calcium uptake depends on the amount of vitamin D we have in our bodies. You should consume at least 525 mg of calcium per day, but preferably more.
Zinc plays a vital role in repairing cell damage and regulating our metabolism. Without an adequate supply, our body’s take longer to heal and may exhibit developmental problems.
Unfortunately, almost no plant foods contain high levels of zinc. As such, it’s important to find a vitamin source. The average adult needs roughly 8–11 mg of zinc per day. However, keep in mind that pregnant women will need more.
Does One Vegetarian Supplement Have Everything I Need?
After reading the last section, you may be overwhelmed by the number of vitamins you need if you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet. After all, how is a person supposed to remember to take five different pills each day? Luckily, there are products out there that combine different vitamins into one daily multivitamin.
So how do you find one that’s geared specifically for a vegetarian diet? By looking for brands that support this community of eaters. One good example is the multivitamin from SugarBearHair. It contains things like Vitamin B-12, D-2, C and Omega 3. These types of effective multivitamins can greatly simplify your morning process.
Want More Great Content? Keep on Exploring
We hope this article helped you find the right kind of vegetarian supplement for your diet. Ultimately, the right type of vitamins depends heavily on your diet.
As such, we recommend writing down what you eat in a week, and calculating which vitamins and minerals you aren’t getting enough of. Did you enjoy this article? If you want more great content, then you’re in the right place. Keep on reading to find more topics that you’ll love.