I’m ve­gan, do I need to take sup­ple­ments?

Hamilton Press - - OUT & ABOUT -

im­por­tant to avoid drink­ing tea, cof­fee and wine with meals, as tan­nins in these can bind the iron, which in­hibits ab­sorp­tion.

It’s im­por­tant to have your iron lev­els checked be­fore sup­ple­ment­ing, as an ex­cess of iron in the body is also prob­lem­atic, and some of the symp­toms of iron over­load are ac­tu­ally sim­i­lar to those of de­fi­ciency.


Food sources of zinc for you in­clude sun­flower seeds and pump­kin seeds. These con­tain around 2mg of zinc per 30g serve. Nuts and legumes also con­tain small amounts of zinc. Women re­quire 8mg of zinc per day and men re­quire 14mg per day to pre­vent de­fi­ciency.


Plant-based sources of calcium in­clude green leafy veg­eta­bles (such as broc­coli and kale), figs, sesame seeds, tahini and al­monds. If you are choos­ing to con­sume a non-dairy milk (such as al­mond or rice milk), there are cal­ci­um­for­ti­fied op­tions avail­able which can help to en­sure you are meet­ing your calcium re­quire­ments. You can check the la­bel to see if it has calcium added.


The omega-3 fatty acid that is found in plants is called al­phali­nolenic acid (ALA) and it is an es­sen­tial fatty acid, mean­ing the body can­not syn­the­sise it so we must ob­tain it from our food. ALA is found in chia seeds, flaxseeds and wal­nuts. The body can con­vert ALA into EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids that are present in oily fish, how­ever this con­ver­sion can be in­ef­fi­cient. DHA is also found in al­gae, so there are some plant-based DHA sup­ple­ments avail­able if needed.

There are calcium-for­ti­fied al­mond milk op­tions for those who go ve­gan.

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