Vitamins for Vegans

                                                             Vegan Vitamin Sources

Whenever the topic of veganism is discussed there are often two questions that are asked. Firstly \”where can you get protein from?\” and secondly which will be discussed in this article, \”where do you get your vitamins from?\”

Firstly I would like to address that a vegan diet is not necessarily healthier, nor is it unhealthier than a omnivorous diet, an omnivore who eats junk food will be a lot less healthy than a vegan who eats well, and a vegan who neglects their dietary needs will be less healthy than an omnivore who is careful of what they eat.

The main problem with veganism is people make a change but don\’t think about where their nutrients are coming from and this is when a problem occurs, both an omnivore diet and a vegan diet should have enough carbohydrates, fats and proteins to support the athletes training needs, and be high enough in vitamins and minerals to support a wide range of other needs.

Below is a comprehensive list of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the human body, their purpose and some of their sources.

                                                             Vitamins

Vitamin A

Function: Vitamin A is essential for the development of healthy eyes and bodily growth and development.

Sources: Carrots, sweet potato, cantaloupe melons, kale, spinach and broccoli.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Function: Vitamin B1 is required to convert food to energy, maintain healthy hair, nails and skin and aiding brain function.

Sources: Nutritional yeast, coriander, pine nuts, watermelon, wholegrain, soy milk, beans and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Function: Vitamin B1 is required to convert food to energy, maintain healthy hair, nails and skin and aiding brain function.

Sources: Fortified soy milk, spirulina, mushrooms, quinoa, almonds and sesame seeds.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Function: Vitamin B1 is required to convert food to energy, maintain healthy hair, nails and skin and aiding brain function.

Sources: Nutritional yeast, mushroom, sunflower seeds, avocados, tomatoes and soy milk.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Function: Helping to maintain a healthy body temperature and water levels. It also helps with appetite, sleep, the immune system and the prevention of anxiety.

Sources: Bananas, kale, nuts, soy products, spirulina, sunflower seeds and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Function: Converting food to energy, synthesis of sugar, production and breakdown of fatty acids and helping to keep skin, hair and nails healthy.

Sources: Carrots, chia seeds, nuts, onions and tomatoes.

Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)

Function- Utilisation of proteins for healthy brain development and red blood cell formation.

Sources- Avocado, beans, nuts, legumes, lettuce soy products, spinach and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B12

Function: To help with the production of red blood cells, digestion and the maintenance of a healthy mind.

Sources: Fortified almond, soy and coconut milks and spirulina.

Vitamin C

Function: Aids the immune system, increases cell lifespan and wound recovery.

Sources: Berries, grapefruit, oranges, kale, spinach, tomatoes, watercress.

Vitamin D

Function: Absorption of calcium, cell growth regulation and the prevention of cancer.

Sources: Tofu and fortified almond, coconut and soy milk.

Vitamin E

Function: Aids with the maintenance of a healthy immune system.

Sources: Avocado, broccoli, coconut oil, olive oil, kale, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin K

Function: Helps the body to heal wounds and develop healthy bones.

Sources: Broccoli, kale, lettuce and spinach.

                                                             Minerals
Calcium

Function: Essential to keep bones and teeth strong and assists in muscle contraction and relaxation.
Sources: Soya milk, brown rice, raisins, figs and tofu.

Salts (Potassium, chloride and sodium)

Function: Electrolytes which maintain water balances, kidney, muscle, nerve and adrenal functions. These are essential for the prevention of cramping during prolonged exercise.

Sources: Bananas, coconut water, soy milk, watercress.

Iron

Function: Essential for transferring oxygen from the lungs into tissues.

Sources: Fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, lentils, lima beans, nuts, tempeh, seeds, soybeans.

Magnesium

Function: Aids in digestion, muscle contraction and energy synthesis.

Sources: Oats, nuts, cacao, seeds, kale, spinach, coffee, bananas, beans.

Sulphur

Function: Aiding with protein and enzyme synthesis and proper insulin function in the breakdown of carbohydrates.

Sources: Asparagus, broccoli, kale, spinach, garlic, brussel sprouts.

Zinc

Function: Maintenance of healthy hair, skin and the immune system.

Sources: Beans, legumes, nuts, oats, nutritional yeast.

*The views and/or opinions expressed in the blogs are not necessarily those of Training Nation, but of the author

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