Vegetarian Friendly Vitamins
Vegetarian diets are gaining popularity. For several religious, health, and ideological reasons, more and more people are adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. A vegetarian diet includes plant products, seeds and nuts, and it excludes animal products. Your body still needs protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber and a range of other nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Vegetarians are most vulnerable to deficiencies of iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Good dietary sources of iron include dried fruits, cashews, mushrooms and tofu.
Calcium is present in many green leafy vegetables such as kale, and is also found in fortified soy milk, fortified orange juice and fortified tofu. If you choose to take a calcium supplement, take it with a vitamin D supplement to aid in calcium absorption. Many vegetarians also do not get enough vitamin B12. Some non-animal sources of vitamin B12 include nutritional yeast, fortified cereal and soy milk.
Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids; they’re essential to cognitive and neural function, they’re good for your eyesight, and they help keep your heart and muscles strong. Flaxseed oil, canola oil, tofu, soybeans and walnuts are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin A helps in maintaining healthy skin. It is an antioxidant, which plays a vital role in cell reproduction, ensures hair growth, and improves eyesight. It promotes proper growth and development of bones and teeth, and strengthens the immune system. Food sources rich in vitamin A are milk and dairy products such as cheese and butter. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, broccoli, collards, etc. and yellow and orange vegetables and fruits, such as pumpkins, carrots, oranges, peaches, papaya, and mango are also good sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the body and promotes strengthening of bones and teeth. The major source of vitamin D is sunlight. The human body manufactures vitamin D, when exposed to sunlight. It is also found in milk, and fortified dairy products.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which help protect the cell membrane against oxidizing elements that may cause damage. It also promotes normal growth and development, and helps in the formation of red blood cells. Some of the best sources of vitamin E are seeds (sunflower, mustard, and flax), vegetable oils and nuts. It is also found in butter, wheat germ, whole grain products, and leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, for the maintenance of ligaments, blood vessels, bones, teeth and gums. Vitamin C is mainly found in citric acid fruits like oranges, limes, raspberry, pineapple, mango, peach, avocado, grapefruit, cantaloupe, watermelon and kiwi fruit. Vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, tomato and garlic are also rich in vitamin C.
Supplements help fill in nutritional gaps and prevent negative health defects like iron, B12 or essential fatty acid deficiency.