We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Fortified cereals provide many of the nutrients that vegans need.
A study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2009 estimated that 1.4 percent of the American population followed a vegan diet. This number continues to grow as veganism is gaining popularity, especially among teenagers and females. Because the vegan diet is so restrictive, it can be difficult for vegans to meet their nutritional needs. While a vegan may not necessarily be lacking any nutrients if he follows a balanced diet, there are several nutrients that are of particular concern.
The body needs vitamin B-12 to make red blood cells and DNA and to keep the nervous system functioning properly. Because the majority of vitamin B-12 in the diet comes from animal foods like meat, milk, yogurt and eggs, vegans have a higher risk of developing a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Early symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia, include fatigue, shortness of breath, lethargy, constipation, weight loss, depression and confusion. If the deficiency is not corrected, it can progress to permanent nerve damage, which presents as tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. Adults need 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day. Vegans can meet their needs through fortified foods, like soy milk and breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast and dietary supplements.
Calcium helps build strong bones, keeps your teeth healthy and plays a crucial role in cardiovascular function. Adults need 700 milligrams of calcium daily. The major dietary sources are dairy products, like milk, cheese and yogurt, which vegans don't eat. Several vegetables, such as turnip greens, collard greens, kale and broccoli, can help a vegan meet calcium needs when eaten in sufficient amounts. Many foods, such as orange juice, cereals, soy milk and tofu, are also fortified with calcium.
Vitamin D allows your body to absorb calcium, which helps keep your bones strong. There are very few natural sources of vitamin D. Some foods, like soy milk, rice milk and breakfast cereals, are fortified with the vitamin, but it can still be difficult for vegans to meet their needs. Adults need between 400 and 600 international units of vitamin D per day. Besides fortified foods, vegans can get vitamin D through 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure two times per week -- vitamin D production is highest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m -- and supplements.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in brain function and help reduce the risk of heart disease. They are considered essential nutrients because your body cannot make them; therefore, they must be obtained from the diet. Diets that do not include fish and eggs are usually low in active forms of omega-3 fatty acids, according to MayoClinic.com. Your body is not very efficient at converting the inactive forms from canola oil, soy oil, walnuts, soybeans and flaxseed into active forms. Because of this, vegans may want to consider supplements, such as an algal DHA supplement, or fortified foods that contain the active forms of omega-3 fatty acids.