Important nutrients for vegans help to bridge the gaps that may be missing from your plant-based diet. If you're new to a vegan lifestyle, or are beginning with Veganuary, there are many nutrients you need to be mindful of to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We speak to vegan triathlete Samantha Taylor to find out how she stays healthy and active, while ensuring she gets all of the important nutrients for vegans.
Table of Contents:
4 Key Nutrients Vegans Need
You should be able to get most of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet. However, you may require vegan supplements to help improve your intake of essential nutrients for vegans.
The important nutrients for vegans, include:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
The body needs vitamin B12 to maintain healthy blood and a healthy nervous system, it also helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue. B12 is mostly found in animal foods, but it is also present in some vegan foods. To make sure you’re getting enough, you might wish to consider vitamin B supplements.
You can source this important nutrient for vegans in plant-based foods such as:
- Plant-based milks
- Soya products
- Nutritional yeast
British Triathlete Samantha Taylor says, “As you change your diet you may find your taste buds change too. I used to hate marmite but now I love it! With my active diet I find it works best to keep going with Marmite and the BetterYou Boost B12 Oral Spray. The convenient spray ensures the vitamin is delivered directly into my bloodstream ensuring I’ve got lots of energy for all my training.”
Iron is greatly accessible on a plant-based diet, and it’s a very important nutrient for vegans.
Sources of iron:
- Dark green vegetables
- Grains and pulses
- Dried fruits
It contributes to the normal function of the immune system, cognitive function and helps with the reduction of tiredness and fatigue too. Iron is another nutrient for vegans to consider. Iron supplements can help if you’re worried you’re not getting enough of these food groups.
Vitamin D is an important nutrient for vegans to look at taking on board as a supplement. Whether you’re vegan or not, vitamin D supplements are recommended, especially during the winter months given our low exposure to sunlight in the UK.Embracing regular sunlight in the spring and summer months will also help you to hit your RDA. The body needs vitamin D to regulate types of minerals such as calcium and phosphate. These essential nutrients for vegans help keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Another key nutrient vegans need is protein. Vegan athlete Sam Taylor says, “The two big myths about vegan diets is that you can’t get enough protein and vitamin B12.
Complex protein is found in:
As well as having all the amino acids we need, they also contain fibre and complex carbs, along with more vitamins and minerals than meat protein.
If like me you have a really active lifestyle, you can get an additional protein boost from superfoods such as;
- Goji berries
- Hemp seeds
When people first try a vegan lifestyle they often think of what they need to cut out, rather than what they need to add to their diet.”
This is why those going plant-based may need supplements vegans should take to stay healthy.
Top Tips for Going Vegan
Whether you’re trying a plant-based diet for Veganuary or plan to make the switch more permanently, here are our top tips to make finding the nutrients vegans need as easy as possible.
- Eat a varied and balanced diet - Fuel up on the important nutrients for vegans with a balance of foods. Source carbs such as potato, rice and veggies, protein such as chickpeas, lentils and beans, and fats such as avocado, nuts and oils. Food supplements will help to boost your intake.
- Try veganism gradually - A whole month may be too daunting. Perhaps try being a vegetarian first, with vegetarian supplements to support you. You could try meat-free Mondays or changing your daily coffee into one that uses alternative milk.
- Find vegan products - Your everyday moisturisers, make-up and hair-care products can all be ‘veganised’ too, just look out for the plant leaf logo. You can also seek out products with the cruelty free bunny logo that have never been tested on animals.
- Ask for the vegan menu - You would not believe how many of the major food chains now offer vegan options. Sometimes you have to ask for a separate menu, but most of the time it’s denoted by a capital VE.
- Don’t eat too many processed meat-alternatives - Though they’re vegan, these are probably items you want to eat less frequently. Instead, focus on the health benefits associated with true plant-based eating.
- Don’t spend a fortune - One misconception is that vegans spend a lot of money on specialist foods. Most food can be purchased in a regular supermarket at a normal price.
However you choose to try plant-based diets and lifestyles, ensure your prioritise your health, by sourcing the most important nutrients for vegans. With our pill-free supplements, BetterYou can help you source those essential vitamins and minerals every vegan needs.