There is no doubt that to be healthier, eating more plants is one of the best things you can do.
A plant-rich diet is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and low in calories. It can also help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Due to the health benefits of plants and the popularity of plant-based diets, it seems that more and more people are becoming vegan every day (at least based on social media reports).
The latest Gallup poll shows that only 5% of Americans identify as vegetarians and 3% identify themselves as vegan. However, the same survey found that plant food sales increased by more than 8% in 2017 and that herbal milk choices accounted for 40% of the market (1).
Clearly, there is growing interest in eating herbs, although most people may not want to follow this lifestyle, no matter what they say on their Facebook wall.
If you are ready to become a vegetarian or vegan, it is not easy to get all the nutrition you need. Although the plants are incredibly healthy, they do not provide all the nutrients you need.
Even a well-designed vegetarian or vegetarian diet can benefit from some natural supplements from time to time because the plants do not provide everything, at least in the required quantities.
Vegetarian versus vegan
First, let’s define what it means to be a vegetarian or vegan.
A vegetarian is a very flexible term because people define it in different ways. Some vegetarians eat occasional eggs, dairy products or even seafood.
Most often, they avoid chicken, beef and pork. What they decide to eat or not depends on how they choose to follow this diet model and how they define “meat”.
The vegan diet follows a much stricter approach to eliminating animal foods. It removes everything from animal sources from the diet and perhaps even from the lifestyle. This means that eggs, dairy products, seafood and all meats are completely indisputable.
Vegans also avoid gelatin and sometimes even honey-based foods or supplements because they are animal-based. Some vegans do not use leather or other types of leather or fur products.
The need for supplements
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the leading professional organization for professional dietitians, explained in the 2015 document that vegetarian diets can be balanced and nutritious enough for people of all ages.
According to research evaluated in the paper, people who follow a plant-based diet generally have a lower risk of chronic disease.
The paper states that supplements that may need to be used for vegetarian diets that meet all nutritional requirements (2). This is especially true for those on a vegan diet, which can be quite restrictive.
Take a look at what we will cover in this article.
7 supplements for vegetarians and vegans
Now, if you choose (or have already followed) a vegetarian diet, here are some supplements you may want to consider to make sure you meet all of your nutritional needs.
The word protein comes from the main word in Greek. This means that it is the most important nutrient for human health.
The body can produce the other two macronutrients, carbohydrates and fat, but it cannot produce the nine essential amino acids found in protein. Therefore, in order to survive, we must at least extract these nine amino acids from our food in one way or another.
Plant foods contain protein, but usually do not have at least one of the essential amino acids. On the other hand, animal foods contain nine amino acids.
If you want to get your protein only from plants, you need to have a general knowledge of foods rich in different amino acids to make sure you consume enough of each.
With a varied diet, it should not be too difficult to meet your needs for amino acids, so well-designed vegetarian diets are always considered sufficiently nutritious.
Meet your protein needs
The recommended daily allowance of protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. However, this number is calculated based on an average man weighing 150 kg and an average woman weighing 125 kg.
For most of us, our protein needs are much higher than those of GDR, as we probably weigh more than that. A better way to calculate protein needs is based on body weight.
You need 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This means that a 200 pound person would need 72 grams a day (3).
If you are on a vegetarian or vegetarian diet, one option to make sure you get all your amino acids is to use protein supplements.
There are many options for vegan proteins available on the market from cannabis, rice, soy or peas. They are not radically different from each other, what you choose should be based on taste, personal preferences and cost.
Protein powders generally provide between 10-25 grams per serving. The amount of protein in the supplement will depend on the amount of protein from other sources in your diet.
Remember that a protein powder is just a supplement, it will not replace foods that contain protein.
Also, when shopping for protein powder, look for less sweet options, aiming for less than 10 grams per serving. Some tasteless protein powders contain very little sugar, but you should add them to your taste with other ingredients.
Don’t limit yourself to shaking or smoothies to get your protein, you can add flavored protein powder to soups, stews, hot cereals or pots to enhance protein content.
Relevant: The 9 different types of protein powder to buy
Iron is a nutrient needed to produce two important proteins: hemoglobin and myoglobin. These proteins are responsible for transporting oxygen to the blood and muscles.
Iron deficiency leads to anemia, in which blood cells cannot carry oxygen properly. This leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, poor learning ability and impaired immune function (4).
Plant foods contain iron, but the type of iron found in plants, called non-heme iron, is poorly absorbed.
Animal foods contain heme iron, which is well absorbed. It is therefore recommended that if you do not eat animal feed, you eat about 1.8 times more iron without heme than you would with emerald iron.
Iron-rich foods should also be consumed with a source of vitamin C, which stimulates absorption (5).
Cover your iron needs
Iron RDA is 8mg for postmenopausal men and women. It is 18mg for women of childbearing potential, who have higher iron requirements due to monthly blood loss (6).
If you are on a vegan or vegan diet, you should first try to include more iron-rich foods in your diet before choosing a supplement.
Iron-rich plant foods include fortified cereals, beans, peas or dried fruits. Cooking with cast iron pans and pans can also help boost the iron in your food.
Iron supplements should not be taken without a blood test and a doctor’s recommendation.
Excess iron supplementation can cause digestive upset and prevent the absorption of other important metals. If you are taking an iron supplement, be careful not to take it with calcium-rich foods, which can reduce absorption.
Omega-3 fats are the “essential” fats in the diet, which means they must come from the foods we eat.
There are three fatty acids omega-3, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
EPA and DHA, which are found almost exclusively in fish, have been the subject of many studies on their health benefits. EPA is extremely anti-inflammatory, blocking the inflammatory pathway in the body.
It has also been found to reduce the risk of depression (7). DHA is required for brain and eye function (8). It is the main omega-3 found in the brain.
ALA is the omega-3 fat found in plant sources such as chia seeds, nuts and flax seeds. Although ALA is an omega-3 fat, it must first be converted to EPA or DHA to be more beneficial.
Conversion is quite inefficient and can vary significantly between individuals (9). In addition, most research on the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids has used EPA or DHA, assuming that ALA is probably also beneficial.
So while ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA, most people who don’t eat fish may need a supplement to make sure they get enough omega-3s.
Meet your needs for Omega-3
The RDA for omega-3 per day is 1.1 grams for women and 1.6 grams for men. There is no specific recommendation for each type of omega-3.
Most omega-3 supplements range from 250 to 1000 mg per day. The important thing about supplements is that they must contain both EPA and DHA (10).
Depending on the severity of your vegetarian diet, this will determine the type of omega-3 supplement you should choose. Fish oil is obviously based on fish, so people who follow a vegetarian diet avoid this type of fish.
A better choice for vegans is seaweed oil, which contains both EPA and DHA, but which is made from seaweed rather than fish.
You may also want to make sure that the capsule is not gelatin-based, but herbal.
Zinc is a trace element, which means that the body needs it in very small amounts. This does not mean that it is not important for health.
It is used for growth, proper wound healing, a healthy immune system and to help the body use carbohydrates from food. It is also necessary for a suitable smell and taste (11).
Many plant foods are good sources of zinc, such as beans, nuts, seeds and nutritious yeast.
The problem is that in many of these foods, the absorption of zinc is inhibited by a plant compound called plant. Vegetation can be reduced by soaking or germinating seeds or beans, but vegans or vegetarians still run the risk of deficiency (12).
Meet your zinc needs
Zinc RDA is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. Since zinc absorption is so low in plant foods, vegans and vegetarians are advised to consume 1.5 times RDI to ensure that needs are met (13).
If you want to take a supplement, zinc is usually available in a variety of forms, such as picolinic zinc, gluconic zinc, zinc sulphate, or citric zinc.
Each contains several degrees of zinc, no specific form is recommended. But be careful when taking a long-term high dose of zinc, as this can affect the absorption of other minerals such as iron.
Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. It also helps maintain a healthy heart, nervous system and muscles.
Most vegan people don’t get enough calcium because they don’t eat dairy products, which increases the risk of bone fractures (14) If you skip dairy products, you may want to know which plant foods are high in calcium.
Calcium plant sources include green leafy vegetables, herbal milk and tofu.
Meet your calcium needs
Calcium RDA is 1000mg per day for adults under 50 years of age. Research has shown that people who consume less than 525mg of calcium a day are at increased risk for bone fractures (15).
If you prefer not to eat your leafy vegetables or drink vegetable milk, you may want to consider a supplement.
There are several forms of calcium in the form of supplements.
Calcium carbonate is the cheapest and richest in calcium. It is better absorbed with food, while calcium citrate does not need to be absorbed by food.
Avoid taking iron supplements with calcium, as they can affect absorption.
Similarly, if you are taking other calcium-containing vitamins, carefully check the labels to avoid overdose (16).
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in the production of hormones, mood, immune function and calcium absorption. It is important for maintaining healthy bones. It can also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and heart disease (17).
Your body can produce all the vitamin D you need from the sun. Most foods are actually bad sources of vitamin D. However, a deficiency is very common.
It is believed that between 40 and 60% of the population has vitamin D deficiency, even omnivores. Those who live in colder climates spend a lot of time indoors and dark-skinned people are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
In addition, as we grow older, our bodies produce less vitamin D than the sun, so the elderly are at particular risk (18).
Meet your vitamin D needs
The RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU, but there is growing evidence that RDA should be increased due to generalized failure and possibly an error in the initial research used to calculate RDA (19).
Due to the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and the fact that most foods rich in vitamin D are animal foods, vegans and vegetarians may want to consider a supplement.
Ideally, before starting a supplement, you should check your blood level with a doctor to make sure you are really deficient. Blood levels should range between 30-50 ng / mL and your doctor may prescribe a large dose of the vitamin if you have severe deficiency (20).
There are two types of vitamin D supplements on the market. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 is better absorbed because it looks more like the vitamin D found in the body. Traditionally, the D3 came only from animals, but recently several companies have developed the vegan D3, an excellent choice for those who want to avoid animal supplements.
Try to get between 600-1000 IU a day of vitamin D and spend at least 20-30 minutes in the sun to make sure you meet your needs.
Vitamin B12 is important for DNA health, red blood cell formation and brain function.
Diets for vegetarians or vegetarians are usually deficient in B12, as they are only found in animal foods associated with protein (21).
It is estimated that between 20-40% of the world’s population suffers from B12 deficiency because many people do not absorb it well, even if they eat enough.
After a vegetarian or vegetarian diet increases the risk of deficiency, 52% of vegans are deficient in this vitamin (22) Deficiency causes nerve damage, anemia, infertility and heart disease (23).
Meet your B12 needs
The RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg per day for adults. The absorption capacity of B12 decreases with age and some experts suggest that RDA may be low for many people.
If you are worried about taking it, consider having a blood test to determine your vitamin B12 (24) level.
Για όσους ακολουθούν δίαιτα για χορτοφάγους ή χορτοφάγους, συνιστάται ένα συμπλήρωμα για να διασφαλιστεί ότι ικανοποιούνται οι ανάγκες σας. Τα συμπληρώματα ποικίλλουν σε δοσολογία από 25 έως 100 mcg ανά ημέρα. Έρχονται σε υπογλώσσια μορφή (κάτω από τη γλώσσα) ή σε κάψουλες.
Μερικοί άνθρωποι προτιμούν να κάνουν μια «μεγίστη δόση» του Β12 με ένεση.
Συχνά προστίθεται το B12 με Για άνδρες και πολυβιταμίνες για γυναίκες, οπότε αυτή είναι μια άλλη επιλογή εάν δεν θέλετε να θυμάστε να παίρνετε δύο δισκία.
Υπάρχει λίγο επιχείρημα ότι η κατανάλωση περισσότερων φυτών είναι υγιής. Όμως, όπως μπορείτε να δείτε, τα φυτά δεν παρέχουν όλα όσα χρειάζεστε για να ευδοκιμήσετε.
Υπάρχουν πολλά σημαντικά θρεπτικά συστατικά που δεν βρίσκονται πολλά στα φυτά. Μια χορτοφαγική ή χορτοφαγική πολυβιταμίνη πρέπει να είναι σε θέση να καλύψει τις περισσότερες από αυτές τις θρεπτικές ανάγκες, ώστε να μην κολλήσετε να παίρνετε πολλά συμπληρώματα την ημέρα.
Ωστόσο, μπορεί να χρειαστεί να συμπληρώσετε εάν έχετε υψηλότερες διατροφικές απαιτήσεις.
Επίσης, να θυμάστε ότι ο σωστός διατροφικός προγραμματισμός είναι πάντα απαραίτητος σε μια φυτική διατροφή. Θέλετε να κάνετε το καλύτερο δυνατό για να καλύψετε τις περισσότερες από τις διατροφικές σας ανάγκες με τα τρόφιμα.
Συνεχίστε να διαβάζετε: 9 πιο χρήσιμα συμπληρώματα για ενέργεια
Ana Οι συγκεκριμένες μάρκες συμπληρωμάτων και προϊόντα που παρουσιάζονται σε αυτόν τον ιστότοπο δεν υποστηρίζονται απαραίτητα από την Ana.
Φωτογραφίες από τον RossHelen / Creatarka / saschanti17 / SewCream / Shutterstock