8 Essential Nutrients Your Vegan Diet May Be Missing
people who eat meat. People who don’t get enough iron can develop iron-deficiency anemia. Symptoms of anemia are fatigue, a fast heartbeat, and shortness of breath during physical activity. Many vegan foods, including leafy greens, lentils, and soybeans, are abundant in iron.
Eating vitamin C-rich foods and iron-rich foods at the same time can increase iron absorption. Oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, kale, and collards are good sources of vitamin C. However, some people may have trouble obtaining adequate iron through food alone, and therefore may need to take a supplement.
Omega-3s. The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found mainly in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. DHA and EPA are found in fish and other seafood. Vegans can get omega-3 from natural food sources including nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts), and fortified soy beverages. A deficiency of omega-3s can cause rough, scaly skin and a red, swollen, itchy rash.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends consuming no more than 3 g daily of EPA and DHA combined, including up to 2 g per day from dietary supplements.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can cause bone pain and muscle weakness.
Vitamin D can be found in fortified products such as orange juice, soy and almond milk, and cereals. Vitamin D is also found in mushrooms and tofu.
There are two forms of Vitamin D in supplements (and fortified foods): D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both increase vitamin D in the blood. The recommended intake of vitamin D is 600 IUs per day.
Zinc. Zinc is essential for maintaining a healthy