5 Crucial Nutrients for Vegetarians

SubscribeButton-webveggies2A vegetarian or vegan diet can be a healthy lifestyle, but it takes is a little planning to eat a variety of foods to meet your dietary needs.

Unfortunately, even the most carefully planned plant-based diet may lack key nutrients. Whether you’re a lifelong vegetarian, a recent convert or somewhere in between, make sure you’re getting key nutrients by including these foods on your grocery list.

Calcium

This mineral is necessary for muscle contraction, blood vessel constriction, and hormone and enzyme secretion. A Purdue University study suggests plant sources alone may not fulfill your calcium needs. If you don’t consume dairy, you may need a dietary supplement.

On Your Grocery List: calcium-fortified soymilk (try Relivables® Fortified Soy Milk), fortified cereal and orange juice, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, bok choy

Iron

Dietary iron is needed for the creation of neurotransmitters and the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. The human body doesn’t absorb plant-based (non-heme) iron as efficiently as animal-based (heme) iron, so vegetarians could be at risk for deficiency.

On Your Grocery List: spinach, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, molasses, whole-wheat bread, peas, dried apricots, prunes, raisins, asparagus, strawberries

Vitamin B-12

This important vitamin, which contributes to a healthy nervous system and the creation of red blood cells and DNA, is available primarily in animal products. It’s essential for vegetarians — especially those who avoid dairy and eggs — to take a dietary supplement containing B-12.

On Your Grocery List: fortified cereals and veggie burgers, nutritional supplements like Reliv Classic® and Reliv Now®.

Zinc

The function of over 300 enzymes in the human body and immune system health rely on zinc. Like iron, vegetarian sources of zinc are not as easily absorbed by the body, so make sure your dietary supplement contains zinc.

On Your Grocery List: white beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, fortified cereal, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds

Protein

Every cell in the human body needs protein. It is also necessary for building and repairing tissue. Vegetarian protein sources are often low in saturated fat and high in fiber, so eat up!

On Your Grocery List: beans, nuts, nut butters, peas, tofu, veggie burgers, soy nuts

Note: All Reliv products mentioned in this Healthy Living Tip are vegetarian and vegan.

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