Your “healthy” diet may be lacking in nutrients. Here’s how to fix that, according to science

Vegetarian and vegan diets are definitely trendy, with more people than ever before make the switch. While some people choose to follow a vegetarian diet for environmental reasons, others adopt these diets because of their health benefits.

It’s not surprising, given studies linking plant-based diets to a lower body mass index (BMI) and lower risk of certain diseases — including cancerAnd the Type 2 diabetesAnd the heart disease.

But while plant-based diets may have many health benefits, they can also, without some planning, lead to nutrient deficiencies. In fact, single scan It indicates that about 28 percent of vegetarians and 13 percent of vegetarians show one or more nutrient deficiencies. This is because many plant-based diets do not contain high levels of Some nutrientsVitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, calcium, selenium, iron and zinc.

Research shows that vegetarianism in particular is linked to Remarkably low intakes of vitamin B12 and calcium – especially in people not taking any vitamin supplements. intakes selenium and zincVitamin D and Iodine too low in this group.

While vegetarian diet They may have slightly higher levels of amino acids, B12, calcium and protein than vegan diets, and intake may still be lower than when on an omnivorous diet.

proper planning

vitamins Minerals are important for good health. For example, vitamin B12 is important for brain function and red blood cell production. But our bodies do not naturally produce many important vitamins and minerals (including vitamin B12, iron, selenium, and iodine) so it’s important to get them from the foods we eat.

But not getting enough of these important vitamins and minerals can lead to a deficiency. These can have a range of side effects, including excessive fatigue and brain fog. If left untreated, over time, this can lead to serious Neurological, skeletal and hematological disorders.

If you are someone who is considering switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, here are some things to keep in mind to avoid vitamin deficiencies:

  1. Seek expert advice To help you plan your diet to make sure it contains all the essential nutrients you need, especially if you are transitioning from a vegan diet to a vegan diet, if you are or may become pregnant, or if you are over 60 years of age.
  2. Focus on your nutrients. Aim to choose plant-based food products fortified with important vitamins and minerals, or foods that are naturally high in important nutrients. For example, Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, while seaweed is a good source of vitamin B12 and iodine.
  3. Eat a varied diet. This is especially important when it comes to the plant-based proteins you eat to ensure you get all the essential amino acids from your diet. Some foods that contain these include lentils, legumes, beans, soybeans, tofu, nuts and seeds.
  4. Pair some nutrients. Some nutrients can help others better absorb the body. For example, vitamin C can increase iron absorption. Vitamin B12 supplements should also be taken with food to help the body absorb it more easily.
  5. Watch your health. If you start experiencing fatigue, memory problems, or even a bad mood, it could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking any supplements to ensure you are taking the correct supplements.

If you need to use a vitamin supplement, be sure to look for supplements labeled GMP Certified, because these will contain proper nutrition. But long-term use of the supplement It may have downsidessuch as being expensive or interacting with certain medications.

There is also the risk of overdoing the supplement, which can lead to a buildup of some non-metabolized nutrients in our bodies. It is currently unknown how common this is and what long-term effects it may have. For all of these reasons, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any supplement.

A well-planned plant-based diet can be beneficial to your health and the planet. But it’s important to keep an eye on the foods and nutrients you may be taking in to avoid deficiencies in essential nutrients.Conversation

Martin WarrenChief Scientific Officer and Group Leader, Synthetic Biology and Biosynthetic Pathways, Quadram Institute; Kourosh Ahmadireader in micro nutrition, University of Surrey; Liangzi ZhangResearch scientist, food composition and diet evaluation, Quadram InstituteAnd the Maria TrakaResearch Leader, Personal Nutrition and the Gut Microbiome, Quadram Institute.

This article has been republished from Conversation Under a Creative Commons License. Read the original article.