Are you getting enough nutrients from your diet alone? If you’re following a keto, vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free diet, you might not be.
Learn the most common supplements for these diets and why your body needs them. Plus, discover how to easily incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your routine that will support your diet.
Supplements for Dietary Needs
Is your diet supplying your body with all the necessary nutrients it needs to thrive? Whether your diet is a lifestyle choice or necessary for your health, making sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function effectively and efficiently can sometimes feel overwhelming.
While getting all of the essential nutrients from your diet is ideal, supplements are a great way to ensure your body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs.
Always be sure to speak with a healthcare professional before incorporating any supplements into your diet.
The popular ketogenic diet follows a high-fat, low-carb ratio to promote weight loss and boost athletic performance.
While it promotes many health benefits, the keto diet can also restrict your dietary options, leaving your body lacking the essential nutrients it needs to function optimally. Supplements can help boost your nutrition and supply your body with the vitamins and minerals it isn’t receiving from food.
Many keto dieters find that they are not getting enough calcium in their diet. Dairy milk and yogurt are common sources of calcium but are also, unfortunately, not permitted on the keto diet.
Calcium is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth and plays a key role in muscle function, nerve signaling, and heart health. Because our bodies don’t produce calcium on their own, it is crucial we receive this mineral through diets or supplements.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes, increasing blood flow to the brain, lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and improving memory.
Commonly found in fish, omega-3 fatty acids can not only help balance out the omega-6 fatty acids (commonly found in processed foods and vegetable oils) associated with a high-fat diet, but they can also help maximize the impact of a ketogenic diet, decreasing triglycerides, insulin, and inflammation.
Fish or krill oil are common omega-3 supplements, so if you are also following a vegetarian diet, you might consider taking algae oil or incorporating more chia seeds into your diet.
Because vitamin D is difficult to sufficiently source from any diet, many health professionals recommend vitamin D supplements to ensure optimal levels of this beneficial vitamin.
Vitamin D supports your immune system, regulates cellular growth, promotes bone health, facilitates calcium absorption, and lowers inflammation.
Vegetarian & Vegan Diets
There are many benefits to following a vegan or vegetarian diet, but the elimination of meat and animal products can also increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies. Supplementing your diet with essential vitamins and minerals can help ensure you are getting the nutrients your body needs. Here are a few of the most common supplements for vegetarians and vegans.
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, which makes it very difficult for vegans to get enough of this vitamin through their diet.
Also called the “mood-boosting supplement,” vitamin B12 is essential to mental and physical health, making new red blood cells and supporting nervous system function, cell metabolism, and DNA synthesis.
It is recommended that vegans and vegetarians either take a B12 supplement or prioritize B12-fortified foods, including plant milk, soy products, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast.
Essential for proper metabolism and immune function, wound healing, and cell function, zinc is another nutrient required for optimal health.
But zinc is also another nutrient that is more commonly found in animal products. Fortunately, it is also available in some plant foods, but because of plants’ phytate content, zinc absorption is difficult. The best sources of zinc are beans, lentils, whole grains, seeds, and nuts.
Playing a vital role in blood clotting, wound healing, and overall bone health, vitamin K is necessary in the production of proteins that support strong bones and proper coagulation.
Vitamin K can be taken as a supplement or can be sourced through a diet that incorporates lots of green leafy vegetables, broccoli, blueberries, figs, soybeans, and fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, and natto.
Whether you follow a gluten-free diet because of celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or as a lifestyle choice, removing gluten from your diet can also potentially remove your dietary source of essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements can help ensure your body gets what it needs to stay healthy.
B vitamins are extremely beneficial for maintaining good health and general well-being.
Vitamin B6 helps fight off infections, support normal nerve function, spread oxygen throughout the body, and maintain blood sugar levels. You can get vitamin B6 from chickpeas, salmon, chicken, tuna, turkey, and bananas.
Vitamin B12 helps maintain nerve and blood cells, support nervous system function, and is essential to mental and physical health. The best sources of vitamin B12 are meat, fish, and dairy, but a major B12 contributor to many diets is actually fortified breakfast cereals that are often made with gluten, which is why many gluten-free diets are lacking in B12.
Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin are all B vitamins that play a key role in converting the food you eat into energy. Beans and potatoes are a good source of thiamin, dairy contains significant amounts of riboflavin, and meat is high in niacin.
Another B vitamin, folate is essential for your body to make new cells.
Folate is often found in fortified foods that happen to also contain gluten. Fortunately, folate can also be found in asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, green peas, and even peanuts.
Iron is an essential mineral that your body needs to make new DNA and red blood cells and for those red blood cells to effectively transport oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the cells in your body. Iron is an essential mineral that your body needs for red blood cells to effectively transport oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the cells in your body.
There are two forms of iron: heme iron, which comes from animals, and non-heme iron, which comes from plants. Unfortunately for vegans, non-heme iron isn’t as easily absorbed in the body as iron that comes from animals.
An iron deficiency and anemia are common in people following a gluten-free diet. Beef and turkey are excellent sources of iron for meat-eaters, while soybeans, legumes, artichokes, and leafy greens are good sources for vegans and vegetarians.
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