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Proper nutrition is essential, regardless of your diet. It’s not a matter of carefully measuring out your food before you eat it, but rather, making a conscious effort to consume an array of foods.
If you’re a new vegan or a vegan that’s on a mission to improve their diet, you’re in the right place. People tend to underestimate the power of plant-based foods when it comes to nutrition; however, you absolutely can thrive on a vegan diet (I’m living proof).
However, we do benefit from a little dietary boost that supplements can provide - and there’s nothing wrong with that. Certain vitamins and minerals are harder to find in plants, partly due to modern-day food production. So let’s take a look at which supplements vegans should consider taking.
B12 is undoubtedly one of the most crucial vitamins to supplement as a vegan; it’s essential for brain function and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Unfortunately, modern agriculture practices make it near impossible for humans to get B12 from the soil. Though, you can get B12 from all sorts of fortified vegan foods such as cereal, milk, and nutritional yeast. Vitamin B12 supplements:
Vitamin D also goes by the name “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies generate it when exposed to sunlight. Of course, we don’t get a generous amount of sun in the UK, especially in the winter, which is why a supplement can be beneficial. D is important for bone health and supporting the immune system. Vitamin D supplements:
Iron keeps the red blood cells healthy, thus allowing them to carry oxygen around our bodies efficiently. It helps keep your immune system functioning well and keeps energy levels up. A top tip for boosting your iron levels is to eat iron foods with vitamin C, such as oranges and peppers. Iron supplements:
Zinc is important in many ways. It supports our immune system, plays a role in protein formation, and more. The best vegan sources of zinc are legumes, seeds and nuts; however, there is still not much, which is why it’s advisable to take a supplement. Zinc supplements:
Calcium’s role in the body is crucial; it helps with clotting blood and building strong bones and teeth. You can find it in plant foods such as green, leafy vegetables, tofu, and sesame seeds, and many plant milks are fortified with calcium, too. So with a varied diet of vegetables and plant milks, you may get a sufficient amount of calcium - a supplement may be necessary otherwise. Calcium supplements:
Iodine is necessary for thyroid function and fertility. You can find it in plants; however, it depends on the iodine content in the soil, which is unreliable. Seaweed (such as nori and kelp) is a good source of iodine, but it’s still recommended to take a supplement to make sure you’re getting enough. Iodine supplements:
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