To an outsider, avoiding meat, eggs, and dairy can seem like a massive sacrifice. They are staples of the Standard American Diet, and incredibly difficult to avoid whilst living a modern life. But it’s never been easier to find delicious restaurants or cook up scrumptious, animal-friendly recipes. More than just keeping mother nature healthy, a properly planned vegan diet can help keep you healthier too.
Plant-based diets may lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer in turn. But doing it right isn’t as simple as opting for black bean burgers. There are a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals that vegans must supplement to live a healthy and balanced life. Today, we’re going to look at the essential supplements needed for those that choose to go vegan.
EPA and DHA
The talk around omega-3 supplementation for vegans tends to get confusing. After all, vegans can indeed reach adequate levels of a particular version of the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. ALA can be sourced from chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and soybeans. Getting enough ALA is a good thing, but humans require its long-chain omega counterparts EPA and DHA too.
Eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play a big part in brain development, as well as reducing the risk of inflammation, breast cancer, and even depression. EPA and DHA are mostly found in animal products, specifically fish. But the story certainly doesn’t end there. Algae oil serves as a fantastic fish-oil stand-in for vegans. Doctors recommend vegans supplement 200 to 300-milligrams (mg) per day.