Friday, 24 June 2011

Attention Veg-Eaters: 6 Nutrients You Could Be Short On

Make sure you're getting your dose of these nutrients

First off, I want to get the point across that meat-eaters can be deficient in many of these nutrients in the same way that vegans and vegetarians can be; but the point is, many of these nutrients are found in animal products. Secondly, I made reference to 'veg-eaters' rather than vegans because often times vegetarians really don't eat a lot of animal products. They may not be full fledged vegans, but they’re very choosy about the animal products that they include in their diets, eating a local egg or two and high quality cheeses from time to time.
From both a humane and health perspective many dairy products can be just as bad. Take cheese for example. Mass produced cheeses often inflict the same pain on animals and the planet as eating the slaughtered animal. Often times, the animals are used for eggs or milk until they are no longer fruitful and then they are slaughtered in much the some manner. Mickey reported on why dairy can be just as bad
So there's certainly good reason to give up or be very picky about the dairy you choose.
Below you'll find nutrients that you should ensure you're getting enough of and where to find them. This is not a doctor's advice.

1. B12

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Photo: Thinkstock
A deficiency in B12 can also cause depression, mood issues, vision problems, low blood pressure, and dementia amongst a host of other issues. According to Vegetarian Savvy, besides animal products, many fortified vegan foods and supplements contain this crucial vitamin. Spirulina is a vegan source. Vegetarians can also get their fill from raw cow's milk or organic milk, organic cheese, and organic eggs.

2. Iron

iron rich foods photo
Photo: Thinkstock
There are two forms of iron in the diet: heme and nonheme. Heme sources are more easily absorbed into the body and they are present in animal sources like meat, poultry, and fish or more accurately, about half the iron is heme iron and the rest is nonheme. Nonheme sources of iron also come from dairy foods, eggs, and plant-based foods. According to Eating Well, iron intake requirements are 1.8 times higher for vegetarians because nonheme iron is not absorbed as well as heme iron. The daily recommendation is 18 mg of iron a day. You can find it in pumpkin seeds, tofu, sun dried tomatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds.

3. Iodine

iodine photo
Photo: Thinkstock
Iodine is necessary for the production of a thyroid hormone. A deficiency in iodine can lead to the enlargement of the thyroid gland as well as mental retardation in unborn babies. Adult men and women require 100 to 200 micrograms per day. Iodine can be found in a number of foods including eggs, milk, some breads, iodine salt, ice cream, nori, soy milk, soy sauce, and yogurt.

4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

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Photo: Thinkstock
This applies to all of us, but if you’re not eating fish you need to really make sure you're finding it from plant sources. An imbalance in the body's fats with a shortage of essential fatty acids is linked to cancer, asthma, depression, accelerated aging, diabetes, and ADHD to name a few. An adult needs 1.4 to 4.6 grams of Omega 3 per day. Omega 3 can be found in hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and algae (spirulina, blue-green algae, and chlorella).

5. Zinc

zinc photo
Photo: John Foxx/Thinkstock
Zinc is crucial for growth and immune function. Men require 11 mg/day and women need 8 mg/day). Get zinc from whole grains, beans, yogurt, shiitake mushrooms, and sesame seeds.

6. Protein

protein photo
Photo: Jupiterimages
In the extensive research that I've done on the subject I've found that the protein requirements are about 47 grams a day for women and 56 grams a day for men. If you're wondering how much protein each plant source has, read my guide to finding protein in plant sources.

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