This helps to build strong and healthy bone & teeth, and also helping nerve cells to transmit messages and muscles contraction. The best and biggest source of calcium is from all types of dairy products. Alternatively, it can also be found in vegetables such as : bok choy, broccoli & kale. ToFu (made from bean curd), bean sprout are also good sources, including fortified soymilk.
This is needed for metabolizing food into energy, including maintaining a normal thyroid function. Most varieties of seafood offers iodine and this particular nutrients are often been overlooked. However, for vegetarian, a good source of iodine is from Iodized salt & kelp.
This is the main ingredient required by the body to make hemoglobin (to carry oxygen in the blood). For those who are meat-consumers, red meat and dark meat in chicken are some of the best sources of easily absorbed iron. Iron is also found in some plant foods, namely; dried fruits, legumes, seeds, vegetables and whole grains. These are less readily absorbed, especially when we eat them with tea, coffee or cocoa (they have compounds that bind the mineral). Therefore, it is recommended that iron intake for vegetarians is 1.8 times that of non-vegetarians. Consuming vitamin C with iron-rich foods markedly helps its absorption.
DHA and EPA are the two types of Omega-3 fatty acids that are important for eye & brain development, including the well-being of the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids are found mainly in salmon fish. However, for vegetarians, flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil and soy are their main sources. A variety of foods, including soymilks and breakfast bars, are now fortified with DHA. Supplements of DHA/EPA made from algae are available too.
Every cell in our body contains protein because it is required to repair cells, build tissues, grow hair, nails and bone. Protein is found in almost every food we eat. For vegetarians, there is a good source in protein-rich soybeans, beans, whole grains, seeds and nuts. All these items provides all the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that we need.
6) Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 plays a major role in making red blood cells & DNA. It is required for proper neurological function and is found abundantly in animal foods. For vegetarians, their alternative sources are soy milks and breakfast cereals. However, for the aged vegetarians, it is recommended that supplements are recommended to assist their bodies to absorb it.
7) Vitamin D
This vitamin helps the body to absorb calcium and is equally important for the development of bone health. Subsequently, it also plays a big role in the nervous, muscular and immune systems. The body itself, will also generate vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Vegetarians usually outsource this vitamin from cow’s milk & soy milk. Fresh mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light (sunlight) are also good sources.
It is important to maintain a properly functioning immune system and also for cell growth & division. Beef, pork and lamb are known to be an abundant source. But for vegetarians, it is found in soy products, peanuts and legumes. However, zinc are lesser found in plant sources and as such, a vegetarian might needs to use supplement to support.