5 Supplements Worth Considering for Vegetarians
No matter what diet you follow, getting the right vitamins and minerals from what we eat can be very challenging, especially for vegetarians.
Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D, calcium, zinc, iron, and iodine are a few identified important nutrients that are of great concern in vegetarians and vegans.
Vegetarian foods that are most beneficial for the body. Image Credits: Flickr
To fill in gaps caused by lack of these nutrients in the diet, many people consider taking supplements.
Here we discuss a few vegetarian options and what to look out for while purchasing your supplements.
Some Tips Before We Start
There are a range of factors that determine the efficiency of a supplement. It is thus necessary to analyse these factors before making the purchase.
It is necessary to do full research on the supplement you are planning to use by reading reviews about the product and understanding the image it has in society.
The products must also be independently tested.
Learning about the various ingredients that are going to be in your supplement is important to make sure you do not have any side effects on prolonged use.
5 Best Vitamins And Supplements For Vegetarians
Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are two omega-3 fatty acids that improve overall health of the body.
It reduces the risk of getting diabetes, keeps the heart and brain healthy, and makes bones stronger.
The primary food that contains these acids is fish.
Foods like chia, flax seeds, and walnuts, tofu and soya beans are a few vegetarian items that are used to get the basic type of Omega-3.
Both vegans and vegetarians tend to have lower blood levels of both EPA and DHA.
Fish-free omega-3 supplements are also available that deliver a combination of both from the same food fish eat to get their Omega-3. It is called microalgae.
For the healthy development of a baby while in the mother’s womb, DHA is very necessary. It is thus advisable for vegetarian women to consult doctors for supplements.
2. Vitamin B12
A deficiency of vitamin B12 in the body can cause serious nerve damage, fatigue, and anaemia, since it used to keep the nerves and blood in the body healthy.
Mostly B12 is widely found only in animals, and some amount in animal foods.
Eggs also provide some B12, but not as much as meat and fish. For vegetarians, dairy products can help maintain B12 levels.
Various B12-fortified breakfast cereals and plant-based milks can also be used for those who do not consume non vegetarian food.
Multivitamin tablets are also a way to consume B12.
All people above the age of 50 are recommended to take B12 supplements as the body loses ability to absorb this from the foods.
Sometimes B12 supplements can be packed in capsules that are made of non-veg gelatine. So, be careful while checking the label.
3. Vitamin D
Sunlight is considered as the best source for vitamin D, Image Credits: Health.mil
Vitamin D is required for keeping the immune system strong and also helps to make the bones stronger.
High blood pressure, cancer and depression in an individual can cause deficiency of this vitamin in the body.
Most people, whether veg or non-veg find it difficult to get this vitamin only from foods. Getting exposed to sunlight is necessary (without sunscreen).
Dairy products, orange juice, mushrooms and cereal are great sources for gaining vitamin D.
Calcium helps to reduce risk of bone fractures and keeps bones strong.
Green leafy vegetables like Kale, and cabbage have high absorbable calcium. Along with this, dairy products, orange juice etc are also best recommended for calcium.
Multivitamins also have calcium in it. Other sources of calcium come as a combination with magnesium.
Such supplements must replace only those amounts that are not included in the meals. Excess of calcium in the body can get toxic.
Many vegetarians opt for multivitamin tablets. Image Credits: Pikist
Many people generally lack nutrients like iron, and iodine which is compensated for by multivitamin tablets.
Thus, it can add overall insurance to your diet.
Nuts like cashews, walnuts and various seeds like flax and pumpkin seeds have high zinc content.
Iodine plays an important role for thyroid health. This is found in iodized table salt. Food we eat must have the right amount of salt.
Women who have not reached menopause need iron in their body due to loss of blood. Multivitamins can help then.
Eating leafy green vegetables that are rich in iron and beans along with vitamin C-rich foods like juices helps in iron absorption.
It must be noted that too much of anything can be harmful.