If you’re looking to make the transition to a plant-based diet, or have been following one for some time, supplementation is important.
Following a plant-based diet reaps many incredible benefits.
But it’s important to consider that your system may be a little short on nutrients which cannot be found solely from plant-based foods.
Over time, your body could suffer from a lack of these essential nutrients. Our bet is that was not your end-goal when transitioning to a plant-based diet!
If you’re looking for vegan supplements to replace some of those essential nutrients, this blog outlines it all for you.
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
Following a plant-based diet is undoubtedly one of the best things you could do for your body.
It’s a diet which is packed with nutrients and free of harmful chemicals, which can have amazing benefits on the body:
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Reduces the risk of developing diabetes
- Helps to fend off cancer
- Helps to fend off mental diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Prevents obesity
Along with these health benefits, following a plant-based diet also helps to minimize your overall carbon footprint.
However, the reality is that a plant-based diet just doesn’t supply all the essential nutrients the human body needs.
This is where vegan supplements are essential. Just of the most important nutrients which need to be supplemented include:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D3
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin K2
Unfortunately, not all plant-based foods contain the required amount of these nutrients in a natural form.
This is why vegan supplements are a good way to ensure your body is fed with the right amount of nutrients it needs.
The Top 5 Vegan Supplements Your Body Needs
While most of these nutrients can be found naturally in many foods, the quantity is simply not enough for those on a plant-based diet.
This is why vegan supplements are recommended.
1. Vitamin B-12
Many people go throughout their daily lives completely underestimating the importance of vitamin B-12.
Unfortunately for those on a plant-based diet, it can only be found in the earth and animal products.
Vitamin B-12 is one of the most important vegan supplements because it works to protect against nerve damage, the heart muscle and supports the immune system.
A severe deficiency in vitamin B-12 could lead to a depleted immune system, anemia, and neurological issues.
As we mentioned, vitamin B-12 can only be found in most animal products. Therefore a supplement is necessary, with many vegan supplements available on the market today.
Try and opt for the recommended 4mcg per day and make sure to get your B-12 levels checked each year if following a plant-based diet.
2. Vitamin D
Another one of the most vital, yet highly underestimated nutrients our bodies crave is good old vitamin D.
It’s a highly important nutrient for the human body, performing a number of essential functions such as:
- Promotes healthy functioning of muscles, your heart, brain and other major organs
- Promotes a healthy and fully functional immune system
- Helps your body to absorb other essential nutrients such as calcium
Vitamin D does not occur naturally in many types of foods, that’s why even those on a non-plant-based diet must supplement vitamin D.
A lack of vitamin D has also been linked to a 53% risk of developing dementia and 70% risk of Alzheimer’s in later life.
In order to supplement vitamin D, fortified foods are a good source. This includes fish liver oils and fortified milk products.
Otherwise, a vitamin D supplement and 30-minutes of sunshine a day will also do the trick!
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are three main fatty acids which are beneficial to the body: ALA, EPA, and DHA.
DHA is one of the most fundamental fatty acids, helping to form the structure of the brain and eyes. It’s also a fundamental component in the structure of the cerebral cortex.
This part of the brain is responsible for emotion, memory recall, language, and attention.
Other essential omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for:
- Stabilizing your mood
- Regulating the rhythm of your heart
- Lowering triglyceride levels in the blood
- Preventing many common forms of cancer
While incorporating these into a plant-based diet will provide some form of omega-3, it may not be enough on its own.
This is why vegan supplementation is important. Experts recommend 250 – 500mg of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids for per day.
4. Vitamin K-2
Vitamin K is yet another vitamin which is completely overlooked when it comes to essential nutrients.
There are two variations of this vitamin: K1 and K2. Vitamin K2 is a little more difficult to incorporate into a plant-based diet as it’s largely found in animal products.
Why is vitamin K2 so essential? It’s associated with building strong bones and preventing diseases such as osteoporosis in later life.
As a plant-based eater, supplementing vitamin K2 is very important as it’s mostly found in dairy products, eggs, and fermented foods.
You can incorporate food sources such as kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut to your diet, but a vegan supplement is also necessary.
A recommended amount of 100mcg is needed for adults.
What zinc lacks in size, it makes up for in its ability to keep your immune system ticking over like it should.
Zinc is a trace mineral and is also responsible for healing wounds, the renewal of cells and their growth and digestion.
Feel like you’re coming down with a cold? Perhaps your zinc levels are a little low! Plant-based foods high in zinc include legumes, nuts, seeds, oats and nutritional yeast.
As a vegan, be especially aware of your zinc levels and make sure to take a supplement of 11-13mg per day.
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