Potential Deficiencies in a Veggie/Vegan diet

Just before I go ahead with this post I want to stress that I am in no way anti-vegan/vegetarian, I even tried being a vegetarian once but Nandos reined me back in way too easily. Some may say that's a lack of will power but I just say I love chicken. But anyway, this is just a post to highlight some of the potential deficiencies that may occur if you follow a plant based diet and how to avoid them. With plant based diets becoming more and more popular among young people due to social media and a certain Netflix series, it's important to know that there can be certain risks to this type of diet and how to maintain all of the right nutrients whilst on it.


Now this one's a biggie, protein is used for a lot of functions in your body, it is broken down into amino acids which are the building blocks for your hair, bones, nails etc. Protein is mainly known to build and repair the muscles but they also make up enzymes and hormones internally which is why it is essential that you provide your body with enough of it. A lack of protein can lead to slow muscle growth, weak bones and weak nails.

Meat sources: Chicken, turkey, beef, eggs
Plant based sources: Soya, chickpeas, nut butter


Iron is a little more difficult to get from plant based sources but is an essential mineral as it is a main part of the haemoglobin in the red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body and to the muscles. If you don't have enough Iron this means that your body cannot create enough of the red blood cells that carry oxygen and this leads to an iron deficient anaemia. Symptoms of anaemia usually include fatigue and cloudy headedness.

Meat Sources: Red meat and offal
Plant Based Sources: Dark leafy greens, lentils & bean and fortified cereals

Vitamin B12

Your body does not produce B12 and you cannot get it from plant based sources so this is a deficiency that a lot of vegans can suffer from. B12 keeps the nerves and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. If you are deficient this can lead to tiredness, weakness, constipation and a loss of appetite.

Meat Sources: All forms of meat
Plant Based Sources: Supplements and fortified cereal

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is mainly known to come from the sunlight, so if you get enough of this you don't need to get it from food sources. Vit D keeps the bones, teeth and hair healthy and a deficiency can cause rickets which nobody wants.

Meat Sources: Egg yolk, oily fish
Plant Based Sources: Fortified cereal

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fat is normally known to have bad connotations, but some fats are in fact really good for us. Omega 3 can protect against heart disease, reduce the risk of clotting and improve your cholesterol, improve good cholesterol, HDL and reduce bad cholesterol, LDL. A lack of omega 3 can cause dry skin, dull hair, brittle nails, poor concentration and joint pain, all things none of us want. 

Meat Sources: Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines. 
Plant Based Sources: Supplements, linseed, rapeseed, flax-seed oils 

As you can see, whether you are a meat eater or not it is pretty important to get a variety of foods in your diet in order to remain healthy and reduce the chances of deficiencies. If you want to know more about food sources you can check out the NHS website and see how you can improve your meals on a plant based diet. 



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