7 Nutrients Vegans May Be Missing From Their Diets

7 Nutrients Vegans May Be Missing From Their Diets

You get a thumbs-up for your plant-based diet u2014 it’s good for your health| and it’s beneficial to the environment. But if you had a dollar for every time someone asked “Are you getting enough protein?””| you’d be able to buy a lifetime supply of tofu! While there’s no question that a vegan diet is definitely chock-full of fiber| vitamins| and minerals and low in saturated fat and cholesterol| if you’re not careful| you might be missing out on these seven key nutrients.

| Vitamin B12

Why it’s important: Essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system and healthy blood cells

Signs of a deficiency: 2.4 mcg

Vegan sources:

  • 1.5 tablespoons nutritional yeast: 3.1 mcg (sprinkle some on popcorn)
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk: 1.2 mcg
  • 1 cup Cheerios: 0.6 mcg

| Calcium

Why it’s important: Needed for building strong bones until you reach your mid-20s| and after that| it helps keep your bones healthy and slows down bone density loss to prevent osteoporosis later in life; 1|000 mg

Vegan sources:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk: 89 mg
  • 1 ounce raw almonds: 70.3 mg
  • 1/4 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein): 80 mg

| Iron

Why it’s important: Fatigue| headaches| pale skin| brittle nails| inability to focus| difficulty maintaining body temperature| decreased immune function| anemia (low levels of healthy red blood cells)

Recommended daily intake (RDI): 18 mg

Vegan sources:

  • 1 cup rolled oats: 3.4 mg
  • 1/2 cup lentils: 3.3 mg
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds: 5.2 mg
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa: 2.8 mg
  • 3/4 cup Wheat Chex: 13.5 mg
  • 1 cup cooked barley: 2.1 mg

| Vitamin D

Why it’s important: 600 IU (15 mcg)

Vegan sources:

  • Sunshine: 10 minutes a day
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk: 180 IU
  • 1 cup orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D: 150 IU

| Protein

Why it’s important: Helps repair muscle tissue| used to replace the proteins that make up every cell in the body; regulates appetite to help with weight loss

Signs of a deficiency: 40 to 100 grams| depending on weight and activity level

Vegan sources:

  • 1/2 cup kidney beans: 10-26 grams| depending on brand

| Zinc

Why it’s important: 8 mg

Vegan sources:

| Omega-3s

Why it’s important: Poor memory| fatigue| weak immune system| dry skin| hair loss| mood swings| reproductive issues| poor circulation

Recommended daily intake (RDI): 1.1 grams (1|100 mg)

Vegan sources: