Focusing on plant-based meals and maintaining a vegan lifestyle is a healthy way of getting nutrients into our system. It is however unfortunate that a few essential and non-essential nutrients cannot be gotten (either in adequate amounts or at all) from these plants and lacking certain nutrients can result in serious health conditions or diseases.
This then makes it a thing of utmost importance, that we become aware of the foods we eat and the nutrients we derive from them. By doing so, we get to identify the missing nutrients and effectively substitute them with similar supplements.
There are five particular nutrients that have been discovered to be absent in plants – they include;
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is one nutrient that is exclusively found in only animal food sources like meat, dairy products, fish, and eggs. This vitamin is known to perform various developmental and maintenance functions in the body without which serious ailments such as mental decline, heart problems, chronic fatigue, and neurological issues could occur. Apart from the animal sources, you can get this nutrient from fortified foods and vitamin B12 supplements.
- Vitamin D3
Sunshine blesses us with enough amounts of vitamin D, however, we might not always find ourselves under the sunlight. We can replenish with vitamin D3. It is found in aminal food sources like egg yolks and fish. Supplement sources include fortified cereals or milk and cod liver oil.
- Heme iron
This particular iron is commonly found in red meats and it is better absorbed than non-heme iron gotten from plants.
Creatine is found in concentrated amounts within the muscles and brain. This bioactive molecule plays an important role in muscle building and brain function. Although creatine can be produced by the liver, absenting it from your diet can lead to a deficiency. As a vegan, you can include creatine supplements into your diet.
A powerful antioxidant, carnosine is naturally found in the brain and muscles of animals. It serves important functions – boosting muscle performance. Carnosine can also be formed in the body by certain amino acids, histidine, and beta-alanine. Studies have shown that non-vegetarian persons may have more amounts of the nutrient than vegetarians. The main sources of carnosine include meat, fish, and poultry.