Are you wondering if a vegan diet contains sufficient vitamins and minerals to sustain the body’s nutritional needs? A vegan is radically different from a vegetarian. If you are following the vegan lifestyle, then you are required to eliminate all kinds of foods coming from animal sources. These include dairy and poultry products such as milk, cheese, and eggs.
Everyone knows that plants are good sources of vitamins and minerals. But if you are not careful in preparing your vegan diet, it is easy to miss out some essential nutrients that you would normally get from meat, fish, and dairy.
If you are planning to go vegan, then it is necessary to know the best alternative food sources that will supply your minerals and vitamins requirements. Here are some general guidelines that could help you when preparing a completely vegan diet.
Adverse Impact of Nutritional Deficiency
Vegans who do not pay particular attention to their nutritional needs could suffer from vitamins and mineral deficiencies. A deficiency in certain important food factors or micronutrients could adversely affect the optimum functioning of your body.
Some of the early symptoms of nutritional deficiency normally experienced by vegans include muscle weakness, general fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and disorientation or confusion. These symptoms may indicate that your body is already lacking in essential minerals.
A vegan who eliminated animal food sources from his or her diet usually experience iron, zinc, calcium, and riboflavin deficiencies. That is because these minerals are normally found in liver, milk, eggs, fish, seashells, shrimps, and red meat.
How to Avoid Vitamins and Minerals Deficiency
In order to avoid a deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals, you need to increase your consumption of dark green vegetables, seeds, beans, legumes, and fortified cereals. For example, you can get enough calcium from spinach, kale, green turnips, and broccoli. You should also include Soy foods, white beans, and blackstrap molasses in your daily diet to supply your body with enough calcium.
Some vegans usually suffer from zinc and iron deficiencies because getting these micronutrients from plant sources can be tricky. Iron from plants can not be absorbed easily by the body. So it is advisable to increase your consumption of iron rich soy foods and legumes. To facilitate better absorption of zinc and iron, you may also need to increase your vitamin C intake.
Some of the best sources of iron include tofu, soy beans, lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, and fortified cereals. Make sure that you double your consumption of iron rich vegetables while increasing vitamin C intake in order to avoid minerals and vitamin deficiency.
Veganism is a way of life and not a special form of diet. If you adopt the vegan lifestyle, you have to make sure that you are getting sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals from alternative sources. You have to eat more foods that contain rich amounts of vitamin B-12 (interesting, but little known fact is that the Danish term is B12 vitamin fødevarer), Riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc. Remember, vegans could easily suffer from nutritional deficiency if they do not prepare their diet carefully.
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