Updated: Aug 14
Did you know that many foods are naturally rich in iron, B12, and zinc? Even though it’s easy to get enough of these nutrients from a varied plant-based diet, many people are still iron-deficient or B12- or zinc-deficient. The good news is that it’s easy to increase your intake of these important nutrients. In this article, we’ll discuss the best sources of iron, B12, and zinc, how much you need of each, and how to increase the amount in your diet.
What Is Iron?
Iron is a mineral necessary for oxygen transport in the blood, metabolism, DNA synthesis, and immune system function. Low blood levels of iron have been linked to anemia, fatigue, weakness, and poor concentration. Most of us only consume about 10% of the daily iron requirements, which is why vegetarians and vegans may be more prone to iron deficiency.
How much Iron do I need?
The daily value (%DV) for iron, which is set at 18mg per day. Most adults only need 8-18mg of iron in a day, but vegetarians and vegans should be aiming to consume 15-32mg of it each day.
Sources of Iron
Good plant sources of iron include lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, cashew nuts, chia seeds. Ground linseed hemp seeds are also good sources. Some other great options are pumpkinseeds kale dried apricots and figs raisins quinoa fortified breakfast cereal.
What is B12?
B12 is an essential nutrient for healthy brain and nervous system development in children and adults. It’s also needed for healthy immune function, metabolism of proteins, and storage of energy. B12 deficiency is rare in Western countries, but it is common in other parts of the world where plant-based diets may not be the norm. Vegans, especially those who don’t consume fortified foods, are prone to B12 deficiency because this nutrient is mainly found in animal-based foods.
How Much B12 Do I Need?
The DV for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg, which applies to adults and children aged 4 years and older. However, the FDA does not require food labels to list vitamin B12 content unless it has been added in.
Sources of B12
Good sources to get your B12 from are Nutritional Yeast, Marmite + Yeast Spreads
,Fortified Soy + Almond Milk, Plant-Based Meats,. Fortified Cereals, Tempeh, Chlorella And, Nori Seaweed and Cremini Mushrooms.
What Is Zinc?
Zinc is a critical mineral for the growth and maintenance of cells, especially those in the immune system. Anemia is a common deficiency symptom; one of the most common complaints of vegetarians and vegans. Vegans may be more likely to experience zinc deficiency because of a lack of animal-based foods.
How Much Zinc Do I Need?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has developed Daily Values (DVs) that help consumers compare the nutrient content of foods to other foods and dietary supplements. The DV for zinc is 11mg for adults, but only 4 mg if you're a child aged 4 years or younger
Sources Of Zinc
Legumes are high in protein and vitamins and minerals, such as zinc. Nuts contain protein, healthy fats, fiber and other essential nutrients like vitamin E that help reduce the risk of heart disease. Seeds are also rich in these nutrients plus they have more folate than any other food group when you eat them raw or toasted with a little salt on top. Oats can be eaten for breakfast or made into porridge-a perfect winter warmer! And 6finally tofu is also a good source of plant based proteins!
Many people who don't consume animal products on a regular basis are zinc- or iron-deficient because of all the things they're missing out on. Vegans, however, are more likely to be zinc and iron deficient than anyone else. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough of these important nutrients is by eating a varied vegan diet which includes fortified foods and supplements if necessary! Finally, always check labels of your processed food items for hidden animal ingredients or added salts just in case!
Disclaimer: Body Health Outlet nor the author of this blog own the product reviewed above. Nor should the contents of this blog be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician before making changes in your diet plan. This blog should be used for informational purposes only.