Vegetarian diet may seem healthy as they include plants such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and other plant products. These diets are usually higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E, iron, phytochemicals, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in dietary fiber. However, there are numerous nutrients that vegans frequently do not take enough. So, which are these nutrients that are at stake?
Diets that does not contain fish, eggs, or sea vegetables are deficient in the long-chain n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid which are essential for cardiovascular health as well as eye and brain functioning. However, vegans should be able to meet their n-3 fatty acid requirements by eating ALA-rich meals on a regular basis, as well as DHA-fortified meals and supplements. DHA supplements, on the other hand, should be used with caution.
A vegan diet eliminates all kinds of animal protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy; vegans frequently turn to legumes as a plant-based protein source. Legumes include a high concentration of antinutrients such as lectins and phytates, both of which can cause intestinal permeability, often known as leaky gut. Soy, which is also a source of protein, contains phytoestrogens and consuming more than the recommended can have a negative effect on the hormonal levels of the body.
Iron is essential for delivering oxygen throughout the body, but it can be difficult to acquire enough of it on a vegan diet. Plant-based diets include iron, however it is non-heme iron, which is poorly absorbed by the body. If you’re a vegan you are more likely to suffer from iron insufficiency. A deficiency of heme iron in the body can produce a variety of symptoms, including weariness and anemia.
Vegans often have lower plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations than lacto-ovo-vegetarians and omnivores, as the rich sources of vitamin B12 are meat, fish, egg, cheese etc. The prevalence of vitamin B-12 insufficiency, can cause aberrant neurologic and mental symptoms such as psychoses, disorientation, dementia, mood and motor abnormalities, and difficulties concentrating. Apathy and macrocytic anemia is also a common feature at all ages.
Calcium is a mineral that your body requires to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Though calcium may be found in a range of meals, dairy products are the most well-known source of calcium. Therefore those who do not consume dairy should watch their calcium intake and supplement their diet with other high-calcium items. Deficiency in calcium can lead to osteoporosis, weak and porous bones and increases the risk of bone fractures.
Any diet that requires completely excluding several food categories can be difficult to adhere to, and it does not work for everyone. Nonetheless, a well-balanced vegan or vegetarian diet may be extremely nutritious. However, if not properly planned, these diets can lead to dietary deficits and serious health concerns.