Ever since veganism started gaining popularity, not only as a type of diet but also as a way of life, many questions and concerns have surfaced on the subject. One of the most commonly asked questions about being vegan is whether a plant-based diet successfully meets all the dietary and nutritional requirements of the body.
Several claims have been made about this particular concern where some say that a vegan diet provides enough minerals and vitamins, while others say that you do need additional supplements to go with a vegan diet.
The latter claim is actually truer because many nutrients such as vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids are found in fairly low quantities in most plant foods. This suggests that it’s best to take vital supplements along with your diet.
Here are some of the most important and must-have vegan supplements that you should include in your daily food.
This is a very important supplement that plays a key role in maintaining certain processes of the body.
Vitamin B12 helps ensure a healthy nervous system, boosts the formation of red blood cells, and also helps in metabolizing proteins.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to heart disease, infertility issues, and a damaged nervous system.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Plants and whole foods do contain high amounts of some omega-3 fatty acids, but they are quite low in other types of these fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential supplements that offer a plethora of health benefits such as the reduced risk of heart disease, prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s, decreased risk of inflammation in the body, and many others.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is one such essential fatty acid that the body cannot make on its own for which you need to take supplements. Algae oil supplements are believed to be the best vegan sources for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two of the most vital long-chain omega-3 fatty acids required by the body.
Another very important vegan supplement is Vitamin D that helps improve your immune system, regulates your mood, and aids the body in the absorption of nutrients like phosphorus and calcium.
Plant-based food sources are fairly low in their vitamin D content, so if you follow a purely vegan diet, your vitamin D intake from whole foods will be quite lower than the daily recommended quantity.
So, it is best to take vitamin D supplements alongside following a vegan diet for maximum health benefits.
Vegans run a serious risk of iodine deficiency as compared to vegetarians, which can lead to many problems such as low energy levels, hypothyroidism, depression, dry skin, and many others.
Iodine is mostly found in seafood, dairy products, and just a few plant foods such as strawberries, green beans, and watercress.
If you are concerned about your daily iodine intake, you must start taking iodine supplements to prevent deficiency and to keep your metabolism in control.
It is absolutely essential to take vegan supplements to make up for the lack of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are not provided in abundance by plant-based foods.
However, you should always consult your doctor for recommendations on which supplements are best for your body.