Vegan Diet for Beginners – 7 Supplements You Need to Consume

A vegan diet for beginners must include these essential supplements. These are important for your body to be in perfect health condition.

A vegan diet for beginners has multiple advantages when it comes to health. However, it is necessary to ensure the consumption of some nutrients through supplements. Which? Discover them!

Many people firmly believe that the vegan diet is a totally healthy eating plan. They are not entirely wrong, as the benefits of vegetable consumption have the backup of research. However, depending on the type of diet, some nutritional deficiencies may occur, to a greater or lesser extent.

It should be remembered that the vegan diet is not the same as a vegetarian diet. Vegetarians, although they do not consume meat or its derivatives, can consume eggs and dairy (ovo-lacto-vegetarian) or only dairy (lacto-vegetarians). For their part, vegans exclude all kinds of foods of animal origin from their diet.

Consequently, meeting the nutritional requirements of this type of diet is at the expense only of vegetables. Therefore, vegans must resort to supplements in order to obtain those nutrients that you can only obtain in optimal quantities through animal foods. You want to know more?

What are the nutritional deficiencies that a vegan diet can cause?

Gibson, in a publication of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition emphasized that in a vegan diet fortified foods should be recommended to improve the bioavailability of certain nutrients such as minerals. The most critical nutrients are the following:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Iron.
  • Zinc.
  • Calcium.
  • Iodine.
  • Vitamin D.
  • B12 vitamin.

In vegetables, minerals are trapped by phytic acid and tannins, which reduce their absorption and use. Calcium deficiency can affect bone integrity. The nutritionist Rojas Allende, refers that bone mineral density (BMD) is lower in vegetarians than in omnivores. Therefore, it increases the risk of fracture in vegans by 10%.

Another deficiency in the vegan diet is vitamin B12. Its deficit ranges between 40% and 90% between different ages of vegans, according to the Chilean Nutrition Magazine. Low B12 intake can affect the blood system, skin, mucous membranes and nervous system.

Studies in the UK also show that vegans are more deficient in vitamin D, as you can get this vitamin mainly in fish.

Vegans are at high risk of suffering some type of nutritional deficiency, since they stop obtaining the nutrients present in foods of animal origin. Check out the plan for a vegan diet for beginners and see what you can do to stop deficiencies.

Vegan diet for beginners

In a vegan diet, you must consume nutrients in adequate amounts to meet your needs. Thus, nutritional deficiencies and possible health risks will be avoided.

You should take some recommendations into account to improve the use of these nutrients  vegetables contain. Which are the most important? How to supply them? Keep reading!

  1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for the regeneration of the bone marrow and red blood cells. In addition, it participates in the metabolism of the central nervous system and in the synthesis of DNA.

In a vegan diet, B12 can only be provided by fortified foods such as cereals, vegetables grown with organic fertilizers, pickles or fermented that have been prepared with bacteria and yeast.

The daily requirement is 2.4 mcg for adults. When you get a vitamin supplement, take at least 10 mcg daily or 2000 mcg weekly. Today, medical societies continue to indicate supplements in these types of diets.

  1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D behaves like a hormone, and influences calcium metabolism. By improving the absorption of calcium for the bones, you avoid osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children. The daily requirement in adults is 5 mcg and can reach 15 mcg for those over 70 years.

The vitamin D supplement is the D3 in fish oil or as D2 of plant origin. In the latter case, 1000 mcg should be taken a day. Of course, this nutrient can also be synthesized from exposure to sunlight, at least 3 times a week.

It is important that the sun falls on all the skin free of sunscreen. In case the exposure is not enough, or if you eat a vegan diet, you must take supplements.

  1. Calcium

Calcium performs structural functions of bones, teeth, and metabolic health, such as regulating the nervous system and the heartbeat. The daily requirements for an adult are 1000 mcg per day.

In vegan diets, part of the calcium is trapped in non-absorbable complexes, such as phytates and oxalates. In general, its intake is below the daily recommendations.

Some changes in the preparation of vegetables, especially in legumes and cereals, can increase their bioavailability.

Cooking, soaking for a minimum of 8 hours, germination and natural fermentation with wild yeasts can activate the phytase enzyme within the seed. In this way, the calcium trapped with the phytate is released, to later be absorbed.

  1. Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3s are coadjuvants in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and diseases of the immune system. Vegetables do not contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), but they do contain omega-3 alpha-linolenic (ALA). Only 10% of this fatty acid can be converted into DHA or EPA. Therefore, its intake should be higher in vegan diets.

Do not use excess oil from corn, sunflower, cotton, among others, because they contain omega 6, which compete for conversion from alpha linolenic, which reduces the synthesis of EPA and DHA. Olive oil can substitute for oils rich in omega 6.

To meet ALA needs, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground flaxseeds or 1 teaspoon of raw, unheated flaxseed oil should be included in the diet. The low conversion of ALA makes it necessary to use EPA and DHA supplements, obtained from microalgae.

  1. Iron

Iron deficiency is the most common. This mineral is responsible for the transport and storage of oxygen in the tissues, acts on the nervous system and energy metabolism.

Vegetables contain non-hemic iron, which is absorbed between 3% and 8%. Vegans have a daily iron recommendation of 1.8 times more than non-vegetarians.

To improve its bioavailability, the use of sprouted cereals and legumes, the recommendations are to soak or leaven bread.

Avoid consuming coffee and tea after meals, since the tannin content reduces the absorption of this mineral.

The use of fruit or whole drinks rich in vitamin C will increase the absorption of iron 6 times more.

  1. Zinc

The dietary intake of zinc ranges from 3 to 10 mg, depending on age and gender. This trace element helps the synthesis of proteins and collagen. Therefore, it affects the wound healing process, favors the absorption of vitamin A and improves the immune response.

The highest zinc deficiencies can happen in vegans, as opposed to ovo or ovo-dairy vegetarians. Germination, fermentation, soaking, cooking and dehulling transform phytic acid and improve intestinal absorption of zinc.

  1. Iodine

Iodine serves to synthesize the hormones of the thyroid gland T3 and T4. These, in turn, regulate energy metabolism and increase cellular oxygenation. The daily needs in adults are at 150 mcg / day, although they can increase to 175 mcg and 200 mcg / day during the pregnancy and lactation period.

The main sources are fish, mollusks, crustaceans and algae. For vegans, an excellent option to increase their intake is through algae such as kelp, nori, dulse, among others, 3 or 4 times a week. Half a teaspoon of iodized salt a day also covers the requirement for this mineral.

Read more: Use This Easy Test To Check Whether You Have Iodine Deficiency And Hypothyroidism!

On the other hand, in these diets, you must be careful with goitrogenic vegetables, such as cabbages and legumes, since raw they prevent the absorption of iodine in the diet.

Planning a vegan diet to avoid deficiencies

Due to the risk of nutrient deficiencies, it is necessary to know how to plan a vegan diet. Therefore, as far as possible, it is better to go to a nutrition professional. While it is true that vegetables are very healthy, it is also true that they cannot meet all nutritional needs.

Therefore, it is essential to plan it well, create a balance with food and resort to certain supplements that help cover the deficiencies. Thus, it is possible to carry this style of eating without putting health at risk.

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