Switching to a Vegan Diet? Things You Need to Know

A vegetarian diet is among the healthiest ways to eat, certain nutrients can be lacking on a diet that contains no animal products at all. In particular, many people are concerned that vegans may not get enough protein, calcium and iron from plant-based foods. This is because most people think of eating dairy products for calcium and meats for iron and protein. But it is possible to consume adequate amounts of these nutrients on vegetarian diet. It just takes bit of effort and knowledge about plant-based sources the nutrients.

Iron is an important mineral because it plays a vital role in transporting oxygen through the bloodstream. People who do not have adequate iron intake can suffer from iron deficiency anaemia, a condition characterized by extreme fatigue and weakness. Adult men and post-menopausal women need about 10 mg of iron per day, while women of child-bearing age need about 15 mg per day. There are two types of iron heme iron (from meat) and non-heme iron (from plant sources). Though non-heme iron is generally not as easily absorbed as heme iron, the incidence of iron deficiency anaemia is no higher in vegans than in the general population.

Dried beans and dark leafy green vegetables can provide adequate amounts of dietary iron if consumed on a regular basis. To boost absorption of iron, iron-rich plant foods should be consumed with vitamin C supplements or foods rich in vitamin C. Since vegans diets tend to be high in vitamin C naturally, iron consumption is really not as much of a problem for most vegans as might be expected. In fact, some foods, like broccoli and bokchoy, are high in both iron and vitamin C. These foods are often eaten with other iron and vitamin C-rich foods, such as beans and tomato sauce.