Living life on the Veg.
Essential supplements for Vegetarians, Vegans and those on a low meat diet.
Firstly, I need to preface this blog by saying;
Whatever kind of diet you follow, for whatever reason you have decided, is entirely up to you and any type of diet can be healthy or unhealthy!
This blog is simply exploring some of the nutrients you may be deficient in if you follow any type of diet that restricts or completely eliminates certain food groups.
The two most popular dietary philosophies outside of someone who has no dietary restrictions are those of Vegetarians, and Vegans.
After all that indulgence at Christmas and what I know was a wild New Year’s Eve for everyone….. I’m very sure all of you are now back on the healthy eating kick and looking to make wiser food and supplement choices to help you get back on track.
I for one am now working on losing my cheese and wine belly.
The choices you make now and moving forwards will benefit you by making you healthier, less susceptible to illness, able to recover quicker, give you a better quality of sleep, improve your mood and energy levels and improve your mental health.
The overarching philosophies of improving physical and mental health through nutrition and supplementation are proven and apply to all dietary regimes;
- Make sure to eat a varied diet with plenty of nutrient rich foods
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
- Avoid too much processed food which can contain lots of additives, sugar, salt and trans fats
- Try to only eat the calories you need – a consistent calorie excess can lead to putting on unhealthy weight (I will let you know how to work out calorie requirements and look at macro splits in the next blog!)
- Aim for a balanced diet with protein, high fibre carbohydrates and healthy fats
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated…..yes, I know it’s in here twice….that’s how important it is!
After applying these principles to your diet, you will have a great starting point for planning your diet and supplement needs.
However, if you follow the Vegetarian, Vegan or other restrictive philosophies, you may need help in getting some of these nutrients;
The vitamin that is currently receiving the most attention in the press and many publications, and rightly so! Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, most commonly obtained from exposure to sunlight. It can also be taken in through fish oils, egg yolks and fortified cereals. It is the nutrient we as a population are most likely to be deficient in.
Vitamin D helps maintain healthy bones and teeth and has been noted as being beneficial to both heart and brain health.
Both Vegetarians and Vegans are likely to be deficient in Vitamin D, as is everyone in the winter months, when there is less sunlight and we spend less time outdoors.
Vitamin B12 is not produced by the body, and therefore has to be obtained from dietary sources such as dairy, meat and eggs.
Vitamin B12 helps reduce fatigue and tiredness, and aids digestion and allows the body to access the energy released from the digestion of food and drink. It also promotes increased focus by supporting the nervous system.
Vegetarians and Vegans as well as some Pescatarians will be at risk of being deficient in Vitamin B12.
Interestingly, this is available in plant based diets as it can be taken in through beans, nuts, dried fruit, and fortified cereals, as well as the meat based options of red meat and liver.
However, the amount of these plant based foods you would need to eat to maintain adequate iron levels is quite high. With the growing popularity in reducing the amount of red meat in our diets, even people on a non-restrictive diet can be deficient in iron.
A lack of iron can lead to fatigue, tiredness, and weakness as well as headaches, brittle nails, cold feet and hands and restless legs. All these symptoms together can be classified as anaemia in certain cases.
It is also important to note; women require more iron than men, especially during pregnancy.
Our Iron tablets are extremely good value for money and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans!
Although Zinc can be found in legumes and some seeds, it’s absorption form plant sources is reduced and is most commonly taken in form a dietary point of view in meat and shellfish.
Zinc helps maintain normal testosterone levels as well as regulate the body’s immune system and heal wounds. A lack of zinc can lead to a loss of appetite, dry skin and sometimes hair loss, it also plays a key role in maintaining healthy vision.
Our ZMA tablets contain 60% of the recommended daily intake of zinc as well as Magnesium to reduce tiredness and Vitamin B6 to support the immune system. ZMA is available on it’s own or as part of our winter essentials bundle and is suitable for both Vegetarians and Vegans!
Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids
Often refereed to as fish oil, Omega 3 is a type of fatty acid that the body cannot produce, meaning you need to take it in through either diet or supplements. It is found in large quantities in oily fish, and also in flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
Omega 3’s most important contribution is that it plays a key role in improving and maintaining heart health. It also assists with brain function and reducing inflammation.
Omega 6 and 9 both have roles to play in decreasing inflammation and providing energy, and can be found in eggs, avocados, fish, walnuts, tofu, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds.
Our Omega 3-6-9 tablets, whilst not suitable for Vegetarians or Vegans, are ideal for anyone with a diet low in foods containing these fatty acids.
So whether you follow a plant based diet or not; consider the supplements in this blog if you feel you may be lacking in the nutrients we have focused on!