The vegetarian and vegan diet has become more and more popular. Although plant-based diets have a great impact on the individual (health-wise), environment (global warming) and the ecosystem (animal treatment), they can be less than ideal in some cases. People with restricted diets always risk having some kind of vitamin deficiency and vegetarians are no different.
People who don’t consume foods that are rich in these vitamins risk health problems.
A number of studies have shown that people who eat mainly plant-based are at risk of Vitamin D, B12 and iron deficiency. Luckily, in this day and age, we don’t have to depend only on our food to get our vitamins. There are supplements who can help our diet in supplying us with the right amount of vitamins and minerals. As a vegetarian, you are probably low on these Vitamins and its best that you take them as supplements.
Vegetarians are at risk of being B12 deficient due to the fact that the vitamin can be mainly found in animal products. Beef, organ meat, eggs, and many types of fish are the sources of vitamin B12 for most people. But as a vegetarian, you choose not to eat these. There are vegetarian foods that contain vitamin B12, like eggs, mushrooms, nutritional yeast, cereal, etc. but they are not sufficient enough.
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in producing brain chemicals that affect the mood and other brain functions. These vitamins are crucial to producing neurotransmitters that regulate emotion such as serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid. Other benefits of Vitamin B12 include making new red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and cell metabolism.
Vitamin D is one of the vitamins mostly found in fish like Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, etc. If you’re a vegetarian, these are not part of your diet. One way to improve your Vitamin D intake is to increase the amount of vegetarian food high in Vitamin D. But that can be hard to measure and repetitive.
Vitamin D is crucial for bone and joint health as it plays a significant role in the maintenance of phosphorus and calcium on the body. If you’re deficient on vitamin D you might have weak joints and muscles, might be moody, have trouble with your skin, etc. This vitamin has proven to be crucial for a healthy life.
Iodine can be found in iodized salt, seafood, seaweed, and dairy products. Being that is is a rare nutrient and can’t be found in that many foods in our day to day life, it is crucial that we measure our levels of Iodine and continue according to them. Taking supplements that contain Iodine is crucial for our health.
Low levels of Iodine can be really harmful to the body as they can result in hypothyroidism. That is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. That can result in fatigue, lethargy, or feeling cold, delayed puberty or slow growth, air loss or dryness, weight gain, or irregular uterine bleeding, etc.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals for bone & teeth health and strength but for muscle function, nerve signaling, and heart health. The deficiency of calcium in vegetarians is not as severe as that in vegans but it is still quite present.
There’s a lot of vegetarian food that’s rich in calcium like kale, cabbage, broccoli, chickpeas, calcium-set tofu, and fortified plant kinds of milk or juices. But regardless, eating these foods all of the time can become boring. That’s why it is important for vegetarians to supply their bodies with a calcium supplement so that they continue to be healthy.
Iron is the mineral that makes your DNA, transports the oxygen in your blood, etc. If your body is low on iron, you will suffer something called iron deficiency anemia. This may result in dizziness, fatigue, or lightheadedness, fast heart rate and shortness of breath. The individual will simply feel unwell due to the low count of red blood cells.
There are tons of vegetarian foods that are rich in iron like tofu, legumes, whole grain cereals, green vegetables like broccoli, nut, dried fruits, and eggs. But even when you consume these foods on a daily bases, you can still be deficient in Iron. That is why it is important that you take Iron as a supplement or you take some kind of Vitamin & Mineral mix like the Fitonomy Multivitamin.