Jailee is an eclectic writer with an interest in health, nutrition, science, business, economy, agriculture, and a plethora of little things
⦁ Why you should be concerned about vitamins and minerals
⦁ The benefits of nutritional supplementation in the vegan lifestyle
⦁ The importance of getting enough vitamin D, calcium, iron, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids
⦁ When and how to take supplements to get the most out of them
⦁ How to find the right supplements for you and do you really need them
⦁ Why you should be concerned about vitamins and minerals
Why you should be concerned about vitamins and minerals
Although nutritional supplementation isn't absolutely necessary, it is extremely helpful, if done correctly and for the right reasons. Consuming the proper nutrients, the proper amount and from the best resources takes some self education; in turn, this can take some time, some trial and error and determination to attain your optimal health.
Vitamins and minerals are important for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: energy, metabolism, supporting healthy cells, maintaining normal growth and development. Some vitamins have specific roles in vision health as well as muscle function/strength.
With the correct education and understanding, you can get the proper nutrition from natural, whole, organic food sources - though sometimes deficiencies happen, whatever the reason.
Adding a multivitamin to your daily regimen can be extremely helpful in a state of deficiency or when you have the inability to attain the proper nutrients through plant foods that are hard to find.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk for osteoporosis and certain types of cancer while B-12 plays a crucial role in DNA synthesis/repair as well as energy metabolism. When you're deficient this can lead to fatigue, loss of appetite or weight loss, tingling/numbness sensation on extremities (hands & feet), poor memory among other things - so taking these supplements will help reduce any possible risks and/or symptoms you may be experiencing due to a deficiency.
The benefits of nutritional supplementation in the vegan lifestyle
The importance of getting enough vitamin D, calcium, iron, fiber and Omega- three fatty acids is very important for vegans; something many people forget about when transitioning over to this type of diet - because it's not animal food based.
Omega-three fatty acids are a major player in reducing inflammation as well as maintaining brain health and function, so if you're vegan it's important to get your necessary amounts from algae/seaweed sources instead of fish - since those foods have been shown to contain toxins such as mercury which can be harmful to our bodies, we must educate ourselves and other varieties of plant-based food that have these important nutrients.
Flax seeds and walnuts are other great sources of Omega-three fatty acids as well as chia seeds, hemp hearts & pumpkin seeds.
Though it is simple to take in a sufficient amount through consuming the proper plants in the proper amounts, sometimes circumstances such as illness, stress or fatigue can cause your body to not uptake these nutrients properly, thus we become deficient and may temporarily need a supplement to help us come out of our deficiency.
The importance of getting enough vitamin D, calcium, iron, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids
The vitamin and mineral deficiency debates about the vegan lifestyle can be confusing and perhaps a little daunting to the uneducated. The fact is, that you can get ALL of the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs from whole, organic plant-based foods.
In todays society though, convenience usually outweighs what is healthy and misinformation is readily available and distributed by those that have something to gain from you not knowing the truth.
That said, according to your circumstances, understanding and resources around you, as a vegan, you may become deficient in some very important vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin D, calcium, iron, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids are the most important that you should pay attention to.
One can easily get their proper amount of Omega-three fatty acids from flax seeds, walnuts and chia seeds while DHA supplements are derived from algae sources. You can also get your necessary calcium intake through leafy greens such as kale or broccoli.. Iron is found in plant foods rich with iron so be sure to eat spinach, Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds & sesame among other things!
For fiber, consuming fruits & veggies (especially those high in pectin) will help keep things moving smoothly and prevent constipation/digestive complaints.
Finally: vitamin D which we absorb mainly by exposure to sunlight; if you live in colder areas, get limited sun exposure or have darker skin you can supplement this vitamin through a high quality DHA/EPA oil.
When and how to take supplements to get the most out of them
Many people think that supplements are a cure-all and they'll take them without regard to the actual dosage or reason for taking it. This is very dangerous because even something as simple as calcium can affect your body negatively if you have too much, so always consult an expert before adding any type of supplementation into your diet & lifestyle!
Since most vegan's tend to be around other vegans who may not know very much about healthy living practices this problem becomes exacerbated - I've found myself giving out advice on what supplements others should consider getting based on their personal situation only to later find out that some were blindly following my suggestions instead of consulting professionals first.
If you're going to supplement with anything make sure you do research on proper dosages and speak with a knowledgeable physician.
How to find the right supplements for you and do you really need them?
First and foremost, you should always consult a professional before adding any type of supplementation into your diet or lifestyle.
As mentioned above, the most important vitamins that vegans tend to have issues with are Vitamin D, Calcium/iron/fiber & Omega-three fatty acids. Supplementing these is often necessary for many people in order to get their proper amount daily. However if one does not eat enough plants or perhaps has an illness affecting nutrient uptake it may be beneficial as well..
Other common supplements include probiotics which can aid digestion & elimination by introducing healthy bacteria back into our gut flora balance; this also helps fight off yeast infections such as candida overgrowth in some cases too! This topic deserves its own blog post though, so stay tuned for that in the near future.
I've also mentioned Vitamin B12 before - which is not a vegan-specific nutrient but many vegans either choose to supplement or consume fortified foods daily because of how important this one vitamin is to our system and where it can be found!
Ingredients such as Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Spirulina and Vitamineral Green are all great sources of B12 for vegans.
In conclusion, supplementing your daily diet can be a great way to improve your health and wellness, but only if done the right way.
Understand what you're putting in & on your body before beginning any new regime so that it can bring you more benefit than harm in the long run!