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Vegan Diet – Definition, Best 8 Supplements, and More

Vegan Diet Definition

A vegan diet is one that completely abstains from eating foods of animal origin, which can lead to some deficiencies in the body.

In this sense, we want to advise the use of a supplementary product. It helps to balance the diet and avoid health risks since the person lacks an essential nutrient.

In the first place, two clear groups must differentiate; on the one hand, some vegetarians consume eggs and dairy products. Vegans, who are still part of the vegetarian group, are more strict in their diet.

They need extensive knowledge of nutrition to be able to obtain the proteins and vitamins necessary to maintain your health and your muscles.

Best 8 Supplements for the Vegan Diet

The following nutrients should highlight proteins of high biological value, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12, D and calcium.

1. Proteins of High Biological Value

  • Proteins of high biological value are those that have the 20 amino acids that our body needs to perform its function correctly.
  • If this type of protein not ingest, our immune system could weaken, and we can have problems derived from the loss of muscle mass.
  • Likewise, the foods that contain this type of protein are meat, fish, shellfish, egg whites, milk, among others. They have all amino acids, are the ones best assimilated by our organism and the ones it uses best.
  • No food contains the 20 amino acids in the optimal proportions. However, it is true that foods such as soybeans, nuts, legumes and some others, have a high protein component, but they are not of the same biological value as those of animal origin.
  • It is mixing foods with different limiting amino acids (those that are in a lower proportion in food). For example, mix legumes that are deficient in the amino acids methionine and cystine, with cereals that are a group of foods deficient in lysine.
  • In this way, complete proteins could achieve. However, it would help if you always had a rigorous control of protein intake, so that deficits of this macronutrient do not occur.
  • It should note that there are supplementary products for vegans can help ensure adequate protein intake. Thus reduce the probability of suffering diseases derived from the lack of good quality proteins in the diet.

2. Omega 3

  • Omega-3s help us maintain a healthy cardiovascular system since they tend to reduce LDL levels (cholesterol responsible for forming atheroma plaques in the arteries). It also helps control the formation of blood clots.
  • The quintessential sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are those found in the fat of bluefish. Also, some crustaceans and molluscs have impressive amounts of these fatty acids.
  • These foods, Omega-3s are usually scarce. It could find in walnuts or flax seeds. However, a significant amount would have to consume to obtain the recommended daily amount, and the calories in the diet may skyrocket as they are foods with very high lipid content.
  • Vegan, the best option would be to use a supplement of Omega-3, which helps to meet the minimum requirements of this nutrient that is very beneficial for our cardiovascular system.

3. Vitamin B12

  • Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is essential for protein metabolism.
  • Its formation of red blood cells in the blood and the maintenance of the central nervous system.
  • Vegans consume some foods such as brewer’s yeast, algae, some edible mushrooms, wheat germ and soy that contain this vitamin, although the amounts are tiny.
  • Strict vegans and vegetarians should take supplements of this vitamin to maintain a balanced diet and not suffer from deficiency diseases.

4. Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis since it directly intervenes in the absorption of calcium by the bones.
  • The most important sources of vitamin D are found in foods of animal origin and also in sun exposure. But for a vegan in winter, when daylight hours reduce.
  • It can be a challenge to meet the requirements of this vitamin. Some foods of plant origin, such as margarine or cereals, contain vitamin D, although in a lower proportion than animal sources.
  • It should note that at certain times of the year (especially those with fewer hours of daylight) it would be convenient to use a vitamin D supplement. It provides the recommended daily amount for each individual.

5. Calcium

  • Calcium is one of the minerals that fulfil the most functions in our body, from controlling the heart rate to contributing to the formation of our entire bone system.
  • A lack of this mineral can have dire consequences, such as bone decalcification, loss in the secretion of some hormones and enzymes. It helps regulate our metabolism, among others.
  • The foods richest in this mineral as we know well are dairy, which includes cheeses, milk and yoghurt.
  • Calcium include nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, legumes such as chickpeas and lentils, and some green leafy vegetables such as chard and spinach.
  • It should note that to achieve the recommended amount of calcium in your diet, we must eat very high amounts, even excessive amounts of these foods of plant origin.
  • The ideal is to get the amount of calcium we need through the combination of the intake of foods of animal and plant origin.
  • A possible solution for a vegan would be to increase their calcium intake with a supplement designed for it.

6. Iodine

  • Getting iodine is crucial for healthy thyroid function, which controls your metabolism.
  • An iodine deficiency during pregnancy and early infancy can result in irreversible intellectual disability (41Trusted Source).
  • In adults, insufficient iodine intake can lead to hypothyroidism.
  • It can cause various symptoms, such as low energy levels, dry skin, tingling in your hands and feet, forgetfulness, depression, and weight gain.
  • Vegans consider at risk of iodine deficiency, and studies report that vegans have up to 50% lower blood iodine levels than vegetarians.
  • The RDA for adults is 150 mcg of iodine per day. Pregnant women should 220 mcg per day, while those who are breastfeeding recommend further to increase their daily intake to 290 mcg per day.
  • Iodine levels in a plant depend on the content of the soil in which they were grown. Food grown close to the ocean tends to be higher in iodine.
  • Foods only considered having consistently high iodine levels are iodized salt, seafood, seaweed, and dairy products. It picks up iodine from solutions used to clean cows and farm equipment.
  • Half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of iodized salt is sufficient for your daily needs.

7. Iron

  • Iron is a nutrient uses to make new DNA and red blood cells, and oxygen in the blood. It also needs for energy metabolism.
  • Too little iron can lead to anaemia and symptoms like fatigue and decreased immune function.
  • 8 mg of RDA takes for adult men and post-menopausal women. It grows to 18 mg per day for adult women, and pregnant women should aim for 27 mg per day.
  • Iron can find in two forms: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is only available from animal products, whereas non-heme iron found in plants.
  • Because heme iron more easily absorbs from your diet than non-heme iron. Vegans often recommend aiming for 1.8 times the regular RDA. That said, more studies are needed to establish whether such high intakes are required.
  • Vegan diet intake should direct to eat more iron-rich foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, beans, peas, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.
  • Cast-iron pots and pans using for cooking, avoiding tea or coffee with meals, and combine iron-rich foods.
  • The best way to determine whether supplements are necessary is to get your haemoglobin and ferritin levels checked by your health practitioner.
  • Too high levels can even cause convulsions, lead to organ failure or coma, and be fatal in some cases. Thus, it’s best not to supplement unless it’s essential.

8. Zinc

  • Zinc is a mineral that’s crucial for metabolism, immune function, and the repair of body cells.
  • A low intake of zinc can lead to developmental problems, hair loss, diarrhoea, and delayed wound healing.
  • The RDA for zinc currently set at 8–11 mg per day for adults. It takes to 11–12 mg for pregnant women and 12–13 mg for lactating women.
  • Few plant foods contain high amounts of zinc. Moreover, zinc absorption from some plant foods limits due to their phytate content. Thus, vegetarians encourage to aim for 1.5 times the RDA.
  • While not all vegans have low blood levels of zinc, and especially vegans. It has lower zinc intakes and slightly lower blood levels of zinc than omnivores.
  • To low your intake, eat a variety of zinc-rich foods throughout the day. It includes whole grains, wheat germ, tofu, sprouted bread, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • She was soaking nuts, seeds, and legumes overnight, eating enough protein, and consuming fermented foods, such as tempeh and miso.
  • Vegan diet concerned about their zinc intake or may consider taking daily zinc gluconate or zinc citrate supplement that provides 50–100% of the RDA.

Conclusion

Well-planned vegan diets can fulfil your nutritional needs. Specific nutrient requirements may be challenging to achieve through diet and fortified foods alone.

A vegan diet is especially true for vitamin B12, vitamin D, and long-chain omega-3s. It’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement regime.

Also Read: Fried Foods – Definition, Why are Bad for Your Health, and More

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