How To Make Sure You're Getting All Your Nutrients On A Vegan Diet

Research from the Journal of the American Heart Association shares that diets lower in animal products and higher in plants are linked to increasing heart health, lowering cardiovascular disease, and longevity. While this research indicates there are benefits to being vegan or a plant-based eater, it can also be challenging to get the daily required nutrients through plant-based diets.

Understanding which nutrients are typically missing is key to maintaining a healthy vegan lifestyle. Nutrient gaps can be closed with planning or proper supplementation. For instance, if you're lacking in selenium, add some Brazilian nuts to your diet; for zinc, incorporate seeds and legumes (via MindBodyGreen). MindBodyGreen points out one of the easiest ways to meet your nutritional needs is by taking a vegan, comprehensive multivitamin. If you're concerned about taking a supplement, always check with your physician first. Meanwhile, here are some simple ways to add missing nutrients into your diet — vegan approved.

What foods should vegans eat for more nutrients

According to Healthline, the seven nutrients often missing from a plant-based diet are vitamin B12, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), creatine, heme iron, carnosine, vitamin D3, and taurine. Each of these is heavily found in animal products such as meat, dairy, fish, eggs, etc. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can cause fatigue, neurological disorders, and balance problems, so it's best to eat foods fortified with this nutrient, such as meat substitutes, shiitake mushrooms, soy products, and breakfast cereals (via Healthline).

To increase DHA, one of the major types of omega-3s, try eating algae or foods rich in its sister omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), such as walnuts or flaxseeds, per Medical News Today. Additionally, add some nuts and leafy greens such as spinach to add more iron to a vegan diet. For vitamin D, spend time in sunlight and opt for eating fortified foods (via Healthline). Keep in mind, taurine, carnosine, and creatine are only found in animal products, so you'll need to add a supplement.