Over the years I’ve received many questions about whether others should supplement a plant-based diet. (As a health coach and a vegetarian, I guess that’s kind of my wheelhouse.) The good news is that on it’s own, a plant based diet can be extremely nutritious and well balanced too.
For those of us with an on-the-go lifestyle, however, eating three well-rounded nutritious meals every day can be challenging even for the healthiest of individuals. In other words, you still may not be getting enough of the mineral nutrients you need, and in that case, supplements can be helpful for supporting a healthy diet.
How to Supplement a Plant-Based Diet
First, make sure that your diet is still well rounded. Be sure to include whole grains, vegetables (especially those leafy greens), nuts and seeds.
Second, if you aren’t feeling right or have reason to believe that you might be lacking in any essential vitamins and nutrients, speak with your trusted medical professional. She can run blood tests to check on your overall health or speak with you about your current food intake and what vitamins or nutrients you may be missing.
Here are some areas where you may consider whether you want to supplement a plant-based diet:
Your muscles need protein to function, so it’s vital that you get enough protein in your diet. Fortunately, nuts, legumes, avocados and whole grain foods are full of nutrient-rich protein. However, if you choose to supplement with more protein, consider an organic pea protein powder. Peas are a source of highly bioavailable vegetable protein that are easy to digest. Add some to your smoothie and enjoy!
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are widely regarded as one of the most recommended nutrients for supporting cardiovascular health and cognitive function.*
But what are Omega-3’s? Well, Omega-3 is the name of three essential fatty acids – EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linoleic acid). EPA and DHA come from seafood sources such as salmon and krill. ALA comes from plant sources such as flax seed and pumpkin
The American diet tends to be deficient in omega-3 due to a generally low consumption of fish. And of course, a fully plant-based diet means no fish at all. Perhaps, for whatever reason, you choose to eat a plant-based diet but are willing to supplement with a fish oil. No matter your preference for supplementing your diet, a variety of fish oil and vegetarian options can help improve your Omega-3 levels. In fact, flax oil has been shown to support cardiovascular health and promote the maintenance of healthy skin.*
The mineral iron is essential to a properly functioning body, as it transports oxygen from the lungs to other tissues.*
NOW® Iron Complex is a unique blend of Ferrochel® Iron (a bioavailable form of iron) and its important co-nutrients combined with complementary botanicals. This vegetarian formula is well-tolerated and non-constipating and has been designed to maximize Iron absorption and utilization by the body.*
Vitamin D is normally obtained from the diet or produced by the skin from the ultraviolet energy of the sun. It is not abundant in food. Supplementing a plant-based diet – and any diet for that matter – is becoming more necessary as people avoid sun exposure.
Yet Vitamin D is vital for enhancing intestinal absorption and metabolism of the dietary minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphate and zinc.* Maintaining an adequate level of vitamin D is essential for achieving and maintaining optimal bone mineral density and supporting healthy immune system function.*
Zinc is an important mineral for healthy growth and development, and supports healthy immune system function.* Zinc is essential to properly functioning bodily systems, including the skeletal, immune, neurological and endocrine systems.* It’s also necessary for the formation of collagen, and helpful for normal aging.*
While zinc is found in a variety of foods, most vegetables and fruits are not good sources, so vegans and vegetarians may be at risk for zinc deficiency. Fortunately, zinc is widely found in multivitamins and immune support supplements due its importance for overall health.* NOW® also carries zinc tablets and softgels.
Vitamin B-12 plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and the maintenance of a healthy gastrointestinal tract.* It is essential for proper red blood cell production as well as in the metabolic utilization of fats and proteins and the cellular production of energy.*
People on a plant based diet are said to be at a higher risk of developing Vitamin B-12 deficiency. You can get more Vitamin B-12 in a variety of forms, including liquid, packets, spray, lozenges and shots.
Of course, you can always supplement a plant-based diet with a simple daily multivitamin to ensure that you are getting all your needs. NOW® offers a great selection of multivitamins for every stage of life, as well as unique formulas with specialized ingredients to address nutritional needs that a typical multivitamin just isn’t equipped to handle.
Additionally, NOW’s Tru-Food Vegan™ is a plant-based, whole food meal supplement that makes it easy to stay fully nourished. It has a complete protein profile and is an excellent source of dietary fiber. It also has naturally occurring Omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and digestive enzymes.
If you want to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs, talk to a trusted medical professional about your diet.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of NOW® Foods, for whom I am an ambassador. I work with NOW® Foods because I have been to their facilities, seen their immense attention to detail in terms of quality and purity, and trust their products my own wellbeing.
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