Essential Minerals for Good Health

2 Jul 2020

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abillion

Nutrients on a Vegan Diet 

Minerals are chemical elements organisms need to perform functions necessary for life. In this article, we share recommendations and tips for getting sufficient minerals on a vegan diet. Do check out our previous article, Essential Vitamins for Good Health too. Vitamins work hand in hand with minerals for your body to function normally.

Calcium

 

Builds and protects bones and teeth

 

Helps with nerve and muscular system function

 

Maintains healthy blood pressure

 

Plays a role in hormone secretion and enzyme activation

 

  • Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for adults: 1,000 mg-1,200 mg
  • Food sources: Chia/sesame/sunflower seeds, fortified plant milk, almonds, tofu, dried figs, edamame, and sweet potatoes.

Magnesium

 

Needed for various chemical reactions in the body

 

Works with calcium in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and regulation of blood pressure

 

Preserves bone and teeth structure

 

Maintains healthy brain function

 

  • RDI for adults: Men: 400-420 mg, Women: 310-320 mg
  • Food sources: Pumpkin, spinach, beet greens, black beans, flaxseeds, almonds, cashew nuts, tofu, avocado, and dark chocolate.

Vegan Magnesium Sources 

Iron

 

Helps hemoglobin (red blood cells) and myoglobin (muscle cells) transport oxygen around the body

 

Needed for chemical reactions in the body and for producing amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormones

 

  • RDI for adults: Men: 8 mg, Women: 15-20 mg
  • Food sources: Beans & lentils, tofu, baked potatoes, quinoa, cashews, dark leafy greens, broccoli, whole-grain, and enriched bread.

Potassium

 

Regulates bodily fluids

 

Maintains healthy circulation & muscular system

 

  • RDI for adults: 3,500-4,700 mg
  • Food sources: Beet greens, cooked greens, zucchini, cucumbers, edamame, yams, sweet potato, soybeans, avocado, and mushrooms.

Vegan Potassium Sources 

Zinc

 

Helps form enzymes and proteins

 

Enables cell regeneration

 

Frees vitamin A from its stored form in the liver

 

Maintains a healthy immune system

 

  • RDI for adults: Men: 9-15 mg Women: 7-12 mg
  • Food sources: Chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, wholemeal bread, quinoa, whole grains, and fortified cereals.

Iodine

 

Part of the thyroid hormone, which regulates homeostatic functions and influences nerve and muscle function, reproduction, and growth

 

Regulates metabolic rate and protein synthesis

 

Reduces risk of goiters (enlarged thyroid gland) and a congenital thyroid disorder

 

  • RDI for adults: 140-150 mcg
  • Food sources: iodized salt, seaweeds, fruits, and vegetables.

Vegan Iron Rich Foods 

Pay extra attention to these minerals

Possible insufficient iron intake

Moreover, pairing iron-rich foods with ingredients rich in vitamin C enhances the body's non-heme iron absorption by up to sixfold. Many vegetables are both high in vitamin C and non-heme iron, so it should be relatively easy to meet your iron intake requirements. Check out iron in the Vegan Diet by The Vegetarian Resource Group for such food recommendations. You can also consider iron supplements to supplement your daily diet.

Best rated iron supplements on abillionveg are Deva Vegan Chelated Iron, Solgar Gentle Iron, and Veglife Vegan Iron.

Possible insufficient omega-3 fatty acids

Omega 3-Fatty Acids are essential for the following reasons. They help maintain heart health, aid in blood clotting, and are an integral part of cell membranes. However, these are essential fats that our bodies can't produce on its own. They're separated into three main groups, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The former two are dubbed 'marine omega-3s' as they're obtained from fishes. ALA, on the other hand, is found in many vegetable oils and nuts, making it commonly present in vegan diets.

ALA from foods can be converted into EPA and DHA by the body, but at low conversion rates, and these conversion rates vary from person to person. Despite this, vegans and vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease and less arterial stiffness than omnivores. This suggests that they have better heart health than omnivores, which could contest the need for EPA and DHA consumed directly from food.

Additionally, empirical studies about the levels of omega-3 fatty acids among vegans and fish-eaters in 2010 by European Prospective Into Cancer and Nutrition shows that although the intake of EPA and DHA is substantially lower in vegans compared to fish-eaters, the plasma levels of EPA and DHA in both groups are approximately the same. This implies the possibility that vegans convert more ALA into EPA and DHA to make up for the lack of EPA and DHA in their diets.

Vegan MicroAlgae DHA and APA 

Best rated vegan omega-3 supplements on abillionveg are Mary Ruth's Omega 3-6-7-9, Dulzura Natural Omega 3, and Ekopura Omega 3 Algae Oil.

Also, do note that a well-planned diet rich in ALA is key to meeting ALA recommendations. You can do so by eating a tablespoon of chia seeds or ground linseed, and two tablespoons of hemp seeds or six walnut halves daily. Other food sources rich in ALA include seaweed, algae, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and more.

Although this list may seem daunting, you can start with making small changes. Make sure your diet contains a variety of fruit and vegetables (eat a rainbow), starchy foods, and protein-rich foods. Don’t forget to use the plate method mentioned in our Vegan Nutrition Guide!

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@maneeshanamdev profile image
maneeshanamdev2 YEARS AGO
Its a great help for the vegans and for other also, there are lots of food which is easy to found and we can add in our daily life. A lot of things we know that we should eat but we don't because of ignorance and laziness, so i guess its an alarm and these kind of articles we should found frequently so we can be on track. I think i am going to make serious changes in my diet from now. Thanks for the information πŸ‘.
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@shaifali09 profile image
shaifali092 YEARS AGO
Very informative πŸ‘
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@lmokae258 profile image
lmokae2582 YEARS AGO
This is great
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@jadahrose98 profile image
jadahrose982 YEARS AGO
Very educational
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@tillymjo profile image
tillymjo2 YEARS AGO
Great article, it's possible to not know these things even after being vegan for a long time so it's important we're all educated on this!
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@koss2j profile image
koss2j2 YEARS AGO
That is very informative. I do know a lot of meat eaters who eat no fish and hardly any vegetables and have never seen a seed in their pantry. So good for all who will read this.
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@prendax profile image
prendax2 YEARS AGO
thanks for the article, very helpful
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@fotoula profile image
fotoula2 YEARS AGO
This information will come in handy... thank you
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@aveganfromaustralia profile image
πŸ’š
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@sanah profile image
sanah2 YEARS AGO
This is very good
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