Do vegetarians and vegans need vitamin supplements?
With careful meal planning and a basic knowledge of how to create a balanced vegetarian or vegan diet, it is possible to obtain the vitamins and minerals your body requires to maintain good health without taking supplements.
If, however you don't have the time or don't implement your diet plan properly , you will not get all of the essential nutrients to maintain good overall health. Vegetarians should be particularly concerned with having sufficient iron and vitamin B12, and vegans should keep an eye on their calcium, iron and vitamin B12 intake. All women should be concerned about iron deficiency, especially if they prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet.
If you choose to take supplements you should look for supplements that are derived purely from non-animal sources, and those which include all the basic vitamins and minerals listed below.
Veggie sources of iron
Meat is known to be the most abundant source of iron, some veggie based sources include:
- dried fruit, including plums and raisins
- peas, beans, and lentils
- dark-green vegetables,including spinach and broccoli wheat and grain bread, brown rice and whole grain products
- cereal that has been fortified with iron
If you remember to include some of these foods in your daily diet, you will probably be getting enough iron.
Veggie sources of vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is strictly limited to being derived from animal sources. If you consume eggs and dairy products you more than likely get enough. If you are on a vegan diet you probably need B12 supplements.
Non meat sources of vitamin B12 will include:
- breakfast cereals that have been fortified with vitamin B12
- soya products that have been fortified with vitamin B12
Veggie sources of calcium
Calcium is vital for strong bones. Vegetarians receive enough calcium from dairy products, but vegans need to get calcium from other sources.
Veggie based sources of calcium include:
- fortified rice, soybeans and oat milk
- leafy green vegetables not including spinach
- dried fruit, such as raisins and prunes
- bread(white or wheat)