Eat to Nourish: Fueling For A Vegetarian Diet

October 2, 2017

Tip Content Provided By: EXOS

When it comes to following a vegetarian diet, sometimes getting the nutrients you need to perform at your best take a little extra planning. Below we’ve listed essential nutrients for your body along with the foods that o­ffer them and additional tips to help you succeed.

Iron:

Benefits:

  • Prevents anemia (fatigue)
  • Supplies oxygen to your organs to ensure healthy body function
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Improves cognitive function

Foods to Fill Your Diet With:

  • Leafy greens, eggs, fortified cereals and breads, soy foods, lentils, beans, almonds, pistachios, raisins

Additional Tips:

  • Combine with vitamin C rich foods to enhance absorption
  • Cook food in a cast iron skillet
  • Avoid eating iron-rich foods with calcium, coffee, tea or cocoa (decrease absorption)

 

Zinc:

Benefits:

  • Boosts immunity
  • Promotes speedy wound healing
  • Improves hormonal regulation
  • Promotes healthy skin and hair

Foods to Fill Your Diet With:

  • Beans, nuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, dairy products

Additional Tips:

  • Phytates, found in legumes and whole grains, lower asborption

 

Vitamin B12:

Benefits:

  • Improves mood
  • Improves energy and metabolism of carbohydrates
  • Essential for healthy skin and hair

Foods to Fill Your Diet With:

  • Eggs, dairy, fortified grains and cereals, nutritional yeast, B12 supplement

Additional Tips:

  • Signs of deficiency include nerve tingling and fatigue/anemia

 

Protein:

Benefits:

  • Builds and maintains muscle
  • Reduces hunger
  • Improves cognitive performance
  • Boosts immune system

Foods to Fill Your Diet With:

  • Nuts, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, beans, buckwheat, quinoa, lentils, dairy products, eggs

Additional Tips:

  • Commit to adding a source of protein at each meal and snack

 

Vitamin D:

Benefits:

  • Promotes strong bones
  • Boosts immunity
  • Improves mood and concentration
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improves muscle function

Foods to Fill Your Diet With:

  • Cod liver oil, enriched cereals, dairy products, egg yolks

Additional Tips:

  • Soak up sunshine for 15 minutes per day to achieve optimal vitamin D levels

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

                  Benefits:

  • Promotes healthy brain function
  • Reduces risk of heart disease by lowering triglycerides
  • Reduces inflammation within the body
  • Contributes to healthy vision

Foods to Fill Your Diet With:

  • Chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, tofu, soybeans, EPA/DHA supplement

Additional Tips:

  • Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids are not absorbed as well as animal sources. A supplement is often recommended.

 

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