This week on the Vegan Cuts blog, we’re explaining all the essential supplements for vegans to explore. Come back next week to learn about other supplements that may be helpful in fueling your vegan machine (your body, that is!).
Even the most well-balanced vegan diet needs a little help from time to time. Maybe you’ve added some fresh juice to your diet, and that’s a good thing. But you can (and should) do more. You don’t need to pop a ton of pills in order to stay healthy on a vegan diet, but there are a few additions to your medicine cabinet that will keep you strong and healthy.
As with all changes to your diet and exercise, it’s wise to consult with a trusted medical professional before taking up new habits. We’re pretty smart here at Vegan Cuts, but we’re not doctors, so please don’t confuse our articles for medical advice.
A B12 supplement is probably the single most important supplement for vegans, because it’s virtually impossible to get enough of it through a plant-based diet. Low B12 causes anemia and lack of energy, and virtually every vegan I know has experienced one or the other at some point in their lives. Vegans can opt to get their B12 from a supplement or from fortified foods (like some non-dairy beverages and cereals). B12 is best absorbed in small amounts, so a daily supplement of 10mcg per day might be your best bet.
There are plenty of iron-rich plants, including dried legumes and dark leafy greens. Most vegans have no trouble getting enough iron in their diet, but some people’s bodies have trouble absorbing iron properly. It’s important to note that vegans are not more likely to have an iron deficiency as non-vegans. This is a problem that affects everyone. Iron needs Vitamin C to be absorbed properly, so make sure you’re including both. For your best chances of iron absorption, reach for veggies that contain both iron and Vitamin C, like broccoli and bok choy.
This advice probably goes for everyone who doesn’t live in Southern California or a tropical island which, let’s face it, is most of us. Your body makes its own Vitamin D, fueled by the sun, but if you’re not getting enough sunscreen-free sun explore, consider a supplement of 1,000 I.U.s in pill form.
You probably don’t think of iodine as something your body needs, but it does. Iodine is essential to thryoid function, which controls hormones that regulate growth. When your thyroid malfunctions, you can experience fatigue and mood symptoms, and in pregnant women, a lack of iodine can cause developmental problems for the fetus. Sea vegetables, asparagus, mushrooms, and strawberries are good vegan sources of iodine, and there are plenty of other plant-based dietary sources available. If you’re looking at supplements, make sure your multivitamin contains at least the daily recommended intake for this mineral.
We all need calcium to build healthy bones and teeth! We learned it in primary school, and it’s still true. Of course, vegans know that you don’t need to drink a glass of hormone-laden cow juice in order to get the proper dose of calcium each day. Lucky for us, leafy greens are loaded with calcium and there are plenty of vegan fortified options as well (like certain soymilks and juices). As if you needed another reason to eat more kale, right?
A note worth repeating: As with all changes to your diet and exercise, it’s wise to consult with a trusted medical professional before taking up new habits. We’re pretty smart here at Vegan Cuts, but we’re not doctors, so please don’t confuse our articles for medical advice.