Being an omnivore is so 2015.
In recent years, restrictive diets have become increasingly popular solutions for everything from gas and fatigue to serious illnesses and diseases. However, some diets cut out foods that contain essential vitamins and nutrients. Certain vitamin deficiencies can lead to serious problems so meeting the daily requirements is essential. There are supplements for every vitamin imaginable, but many of these vitamins can come from other foods as well. Before you load up your cabinets with bottles of fancy supplements, read below to determine what vitamins are worth buying.
For The Vegan:
Becoming a vegan is a total dietary overhaul. Many of the foods excluded from the vegan diet contain essential vitamins you cannot get from plant-based sources, so it’s important to know what foods are fortified and what other supplements are needed.
- Vitamin B12: Vegetarians and vegans alike are at a high risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency, so supplementing your diet is extremely important. A B vitamin supplement is recommended, but there are also foods like soy products, plant milks, and breakfast cereals that are fortified with B12.
- Iodine: Vegans are actually at a 50% higher chance of iodine deficiency than vegetarians. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism and, for pregnant women, mental retardation for the infant. Since most iodine is consumed through dairy products, taking an iodine supplement is extremely important.
- Long-Chain Omega 3s: Omega 3 Fatty Acids contain two categories; ALA (aka essential), which only comes from your diet, and long-chain, which you can supplement and which your body can make from ALA. These omega 3s are essential for brain development and eye structure. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts all contain high levels of ALA. Long-chain omega 3s mostly come from animal products, and the conversion rate from ALA to long-chain is very low. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to take an algae oil supplement
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for nutrient absorption, as well as mood and immune function. Sun exposure is a great source of vitamin D, but a supplement is also highly recommended.
For The Celiac (Or The Gluten-Free Dieter)
Celiac’s Disease is a severe diagnosed gluten intolerance. However, many people follow a gluten-free diet due to various sensitivities or just because it makes them feel good! Whichever your reason, consider the below supplements to ensure you continue feeling good.
- Vitamin B6: Your body needs vitamin B6 for proper immune and nerve function. Chickpeas, salmon, tuna, turkey, and chicken are all excellent sources of this vitamin.
- Vitamin D: Unfortunately, you’re in the same boat as the vegans on this one. A dietary supplement is the best way to ensure you’re meeting those daily values, but you can also supplement your diet with eggs and fish, both good sources of Vitamin D.
- Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin: These good-old B vitamins are most commonly found in enriched gluten-based cereal and breads. Meat is a good source of riboflavin and niacin, but your best bet would be taking a B vitamin supplement to get proper levels of these, as well as B6 and B12.
For the Lactose Intolerant
Whether you’re intolerant, just sensitive, or excluding dairy for other reasons, you are depriving your body of many important vitamins it needs. The great news is that with all of the fortified dairy alternatives, conscious choices at the grocery store are all you need to stay healthy.
- Calcium: The main source of calcium in a balanced diet is dairy products. Many plant-source milks and juices are fortified with enough calcium to satisfy the daily requirements, but if these aren’t part of your diet, consider a calcium supplement for bone and teeth health, as well as muscle and heart health.
- Vitamin D: For dairy-free dieters, vitamin D is essential to your body because it helps you absorb all the calcium you’re already supplementing. Eggs, fish, and fortified cereals will all bring those vitamin D levels back to normal.
- Phosphorous: Phosphorous, most commonly found in dairy milk, regulates cell function in the body and is important for your bones and teeth. Red meat, poultry, and fish all provide enough phosphorous to meet the requirements.
What About a Catch-All Supplement?
If you’re accustomed to following a certian lifestyle, especially if that’s a busy lifestyle, taking the time to supplement your diet with various new pills and enriched foods might seem cumbersome. What’s the best way to ensure your body still gets the nutrients it needs? Take a daily multivitamin. Most multivitamins include all of the nutrients mentioned in this article, so it’s an easy way to make sure your body is getting all of the vitamins it needs, and still none of the dairy or gluten it doesn’t. Happy supplementing!