Vegetarians are constantly being warned that they should take care to get enough protein. Vegans also get admonished with threats about calcium and vitamin B12 deficiencies. While these nutrients are important, they really aren’t that difficult to get on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
One of the most annoying redundancies you will hear as a vegetarian is this: “But how do you get your protein?”
The reason that this is so annoying is because it assumes that meat is the only source of protein. All plant-based foods contain some protein. Heck, even corn has lots of protein in it (1 cup = 16 grams), not to mention vegetarian foods like beans, nuts, seitan, and tempeh.
When it comes to vitamins, we hear a lot about C, our Bs, and D. But rarely do we ever hear anyone hype up the merits of vitamin K along the lines of, “Eat your greens Jimmy. They have lots of vitamin K!”
The reason that vitamin K hasn’t made it onto the health radar is because we assumed we were getting enough of it. However, recent studies show that it may be time to start giving vitamin K some attention.
There are a lot of plant-based foods which are chock full of iron. But, unfortunately for vegetarians and vegans, the iron in these foods isn’t always very absorbable by the body.
There are plenty of plant-based foods which are high in iron, such as leafy greens and legumes. However, the iron found in plants has a lower bioavailability than the iron which comes from animal sources, meaning that our bodies don’t absorb it as well.
A half cup of cooked spinach contains 3.2mg of iron – which seemingly makes it a powerhouse of iron. However, nutritional facts aren’t always as straight forward as they seem.