Switching over to a vegetarian lifestyle can be difficult to say the least. The older you are, the more difficult it becomes. Our bodies need certain nutrients to ensure they function optimally without the risk of immune systems becoming a target for any harmful deficiencies or diseases.
There are ultimately six key nutrients every vegetarian or vegan should be aware of and supplement to this effect. In this article we’ll take a closer look at each of them and how you can make sure you get a healthy dose of all the essential nutrients for a healthy and happy you!
Six Important Nutrients You Cannot Live Without
Let’s take a quick look at each of these nutrients:
- Vitamin B-12
- Omega 3
Now that you have a better idea of which nutrients you need to be aware of, we’ll take a closer look at four of them and discuss how you can substitute or supplement them.
#1 Vitamin B-12
This nutrient is responsible for healthy red blood cells and the upkeep of mental health. The nutrient is mainly found in red meat, dairy and eggs. Now, as a vegetarian, you can always ensure you eat more eggs and dairy but if you are a vegan or don’t eat any eggs or dairy you’ll need to take an oral supplement.
If you refrain from ensuring your Vitamin B-12 levels are normal, you may become susceptible for macrocytic anemia.
The obvious contender in our list is of course protein. Even though every vegetarian knows that they need a plant-based substitute for their protein intake, very few take the importance thereof very seriously. You need to get your weight in grams of protein on a daily basis. That’s quite a lot! Make sure you stack up on all the protein-rich snacks you are allowed to eat.
For starters, you can include more legumes, nuts, soy and beans in your daily eating plan. Those who include dairy such as cheese and milk can increase their dairy intake too. Don’t forget about the eggs (if you eat them!)
The importance of iron is as important as the air you breathe, literally. Iron serves the hemoglobin which is responsible for delivering oxygen from the lungs to the entire body. You see why you need to increase your iron intake now?
Unfortunately, plant-based foods that are rich in iron will not necessarily get the job done. You need to ensure that the iron is properly absorbed when consuming it. To ensure swift absorption, be sure to include fruits and veg that are rich in Vitamin C while eating your legumes and other iron-rich plant-based foods.
#4 Omega 3
Fatty acids found in fish have recently been found to be fantastic for increasing health. Not only does it decrease the risk of heart disease, but it also protects us from depression and lowers blood pressure. The list of benefits goes on and on. But what to do if you don’t include fish in your diet?
Vegetarians can ensure they get their quota of Omega 3 fatty acids in by including walnuts, olive oil, soybeans and hemp oil in their diets. If you feel you need to you can also take an omega three supplement to ensure you get your daily dose in.
Being vegetarian has loads of benefits not only to your lifestyle but also to your health. Be sure you are wary of all the nutrients you need to supplement now that you are no longer getting them in your diet. The key is to ensure you take care of your health, always.