There are many ways to live a plant-based lifestyle, whether you’re a vegan, flexitarian, pescatarian, or identify with another way of eating “green.”
While every person has different reasons for their dietary choices, it still takes time to recognize what changes and additions need to be made to meet your nutritional needs. Animal products do contain important vitamins and minerals that the body needs, and it is important to get these nutrients from another source after making a lifestyle change to ensure the body maintains immune system health, growth, and other support systems.
We know those following plant-based diets are tired of hearing “How do you get protein?”, but for those newly transitioning into this lifestyle, it is something to be prepared for. This can lead to eating a poor diet that doesn’t include the proper nutrients. Meals can be unbalanced without protein, and a lack of protein may lead to feeling hungrier faster. Flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, lentils, and quinoa are all sources of protein. Vegetarian protein powders are another option, such as a plant-based blend or pea protein.
Many people assume that the only way to consume calcium is through dairy products like milk and cheese. The daily value recommendation for calcium is 1000 mg for adults ages 19-50, including pregnant and lactating women. Above age 50, this increases to 1200 mg. Luckily, non-dairy sources of calcium include kale, broccoli, tofu, and fortified foods. Another option is a daily calcium supplement for supporting bone health.*
Iron is an essential mineral that is required in the body to make hemoglobin, a protein complex found in red blood cells.
Iron is involved in energy utilization, and while it is often touted as a supplement for women, it is just as important for men.*
Women simply need more intake: the daily recommended intake is 18 mg for women ages 19-50 and just 8 mg for men. This number is even higher for pregnant women. The good news is that there are many plant-based foods that contain iron, including lima beans, tofu, lentils, cashews, oatmeal, fortified cereals, kale, and collard greens.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon, anchovies, and trout are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are best known for supporting joints, skin, and are the most noteworthy when it comes to heart health.* Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids help maintain triglyceride levels that are already within a normal range.* The American Heart Association recommends consuming two servings of oily fish per week, but for those consuming a mostly plant-based diet, this may not be an option. The good news is that there are vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids, including flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and olive oil.
Vitamin B-12 plays an important role in energy metabolism and heart health.* This nutrient is abundant in animal products, like beef liver, eggs, sardines, salmon, and lamb. Because of this, it can be difficult for vegetarians, and especially vegans, to consume enough Vitamin B-12 through their diets. Some plant milks, cereals, and soy products are fortified with Vitamin B-12. The most reliable way for those eating plant-based diets to get their daily Vitamin B-12 is through supplementation.
Can’t get enough greens? Check out a favorite of Puritan’s Pride customers, our Green Source multivitamin.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.