A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. Vegetarians,
however, may need some extra supplements to make up for nutrients not found
in the vegetarian diet. Many vegetarians face some common vitamin deficiencies.


Vitamin deficiency

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that’s almost exclusively found in
animal-sourced foods, such as fish, meat, dairy products, and eggs.
Vegetarians are at a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.

B12 is not found in any plant-based foods. B12 deficiencies can lead to
anemia. These deficiencies can also cause muscular tingling, weakness,
and fatigue.
Vegetarians can get B12 through dairy products. B12 can also be found in
some fortified foods like breakfast cereals.
Taking a B12 or B complex supplement can help ensure a sufficient intake
of this important nutrient.


For healthy bones and teeth

● Calcium is an important nutrient for the development of bones and teeth.
Calcium also plays an important part in heart health, nerve function, and
muscle function. However, many vegetarians and vegans struggle to reach
the recommended daily amount.
● Vegetarians can get calcium through beans and lentils, nuts, leafy greens,
edamame, tofu, or dairy products. A calcium deficiency may not have any
early symptoms.
● However, a long-term calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis,
cataracts, dental problems, and even brain problems.


Iron Deficiency in women


● The most common sources of iron are red meat, poultry, liver, mussels,
and oysters. This can pose a big problem for vegetarians.
● Iron-deficiency anemia affects about 20% of women and 3% of men.
Additionally, because iron absorption isn’t as efficient from plant sources,
vegetarians need to be extra careful about getting adequate iron.

● Vegetarians can find iron in dried beans, peas, lentils, dark leafy greens,
fortified cereals, and dried fruit. Additionally, eating a diet rich in vitamin c
can help the body absorb iron better. This includes foods like tomatoes,
citrus fruits, cabbage, and broccoli.


Zinc deficiency
● Zinc is another nutrient that is absorbed more efficiently from animal
sources. Zinc is most important for a healthy immune system. Zinc plays
an important role in memory and decreases risk for chronic diseases.
● Zinc can be found in dairy products. Vegetarians can also get zinc from
mushrooms, lentils, black-eyed peas, split peas.


Omega 3 fatty acids

● Omega-3 fatty acids are most commonly found in fatty fish and fish oil.
Because of this, vegetarians may face a deficiency in docosahexaenoic
acid (DHA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid. Particularly in children and
pregnant women, DHA deficiency can have a negative effect on brain
development and mental health.
● The body can make DHA through the omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic
acid (ALA). Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are all good plant-based
sources of ALA. However, the process of converting ALA to DHA is
sometimes inefficient. Vegetarians may want to consider supplementation.

While a vegetarian diet can be extremely healthy, vegetarians are advised to be
aware of some common vitamin deficiencies. If a vegetarian has any concerns
about nutrient intake, experts can recommend taking supplements under
supervision.

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