How to Improve Your Health as a Vegan: Supplements For Vegan Diet
There are many reasons why one might choose to adopt a vegan diet—for their health, for the environment, for the animals—but it is important to know where you are getting your essential nutrients from on a plant-based diet so that you can truly thrive with this lifestyle choice. So, what are the best supplements for a vegan diet?
We all have that friend who goes vegan but is still eating processed foods, artificial sugars, hydrogenated oils, and is practically starving in terms of real vital nutrients.
In reality, one should make sure they are meeting the body’s nutritional requirements regardless of their dietary preference. However, there are certain nutrient groups that people on plant-based diets are commonly deficient in—most notably protein (amino acids), B-vitamins, minerals, and fats.
The protein discussion is often a controversial one when it comes to plant-based eating. Many uninformed people think that protein only comes from animal meats, but this is obviously not true. Animal meats just contain large quantities of protein, but protein can be found in many plant-based foods, especially in nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. While it is true that some plant based proteins may lack bio availability compared to animal source proteins, methods such as sprouting, soaking and supplementation with a Digestive Enzyme Complex can help improve the bio avaibility of plant based proteins.
Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains.
Protein assists in the fabrication of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Well-formed hormones are essential for a vast number of functions, primarily: muscle repair and preservation; nutrient extraction; shielding the body from bacterial and viral infection; and infusing tired muscles with more energy.
When we eat meat, fish, lentils, broccoli, beans or rice, we are not eating protein but complete or incomplete proteins from which the body has to extract amino acids. Only when the individual amino acids have entered the bloodstream and arrived in the liver through the small intestine can the liver then produce the body's proteins. Complete proteins mean that the food contains all the essential amino acids that the body must ingest before it can produce its own protein.
Next to water it is protein that comprises the largest part of the body's weight and substance. It is the nucleus of all cell structures, including those that build our bones, muscles, tendons, internal organs, nails, hair, glandular function, enzymes, etc. Almost every conceivable structure and function of the body requires these key building blocks known as amino acids. Amino acids are the body's fundamental biochemical structures for cell growth, hormones, enzymes and the immune system.
Due to many people in today’s society eating diets that cause inflammation in the gut, poorly combining foods, and consuming processed or devitalized foods, amino acid deficiency has become increasingly common. The body must be given ample time to digest and break down proteins otherwise the food putrefies and can poison the body. For this reason, our Zuma Nutrition team has created our Complete Amino Acid Complex that features the correct combination of amino acids in the correct form, so that your body can absorb them instantaneously, not requiring digestion. Many amino acid complexes are manufactured in China and feature the wrong forms of aromatic and sulfur based amino acids. Our team developed this formula with one goal, to create the highest quality amino acid complex on the US market. Why rely on your body's ability to extract amino acids from food when you can get these vital nutrients into the blood stream instantaneously.
Some B vitamins are produced in the bowel, but the conditions for that to happen require the intestinal micro flora or friendly bacteria species that colonize the bowel to dominate over the unfriendly species. Unfortunately, because many Americans are living on processed dead foods, alcohol and diets lacking in any living enzymes, the balance of friendly to unfriendly is inverted, preventing the body from realizing any benefit from its ability to produce B vitamins. The importance of having sufficient quantities of B vitamins available to the body is vital to not only a broad spectrum of cell and metabolic reactions, but also to the body's ability to defend itself and almost every aspect of immune response. Our Zuma Nutrition team has created a Co Enzyme B Complex after years of research in the field, and this formula is more bio available and uses higher quality ingredients than many B complexes in the industry. Through simply taking 2 capsules each morning with the proper protocol, your body is fed a full complex of all the B vitamins to start off your day, arming your immune system for a full day’s work.
In the context of nutrition, a mineral is defined as: a chemical element required as an essential nutrient by organisms to perform functions necessary for life. There are over 90 elements that make up the earth, and every one of them is a constituent of the body. These minerals, metals and trace elements are broken down and used by the body to produce co enzymes (a substance that enhances the action of an enzyme, which is a protein that functions as a catalyst to mediate and speed a chemical reaction) as well as the inorganic materials that help build muscle, nerve, brain, connective tissue, bone, cartilage, hair, etc. In other words, almost every cell of the body is dependent on co enzymes. Therefore, we must always be replacing minerals to maintain the body's homeostasis or balance. To do this, we must constantly ingest minerals in forms that the body can access and utilize.
Unfortunately, due to poor agricultural practices, the soil that most foods are grown in are depleted of minerals, and therefore the food that is produced is also lacking in minerals. Mineral deficiency is common among many people in the modern world, not just vegans. We recommend that all people supplement with high quality minerals such as our Fulvic & Trace Ocean Minerals, unless they are certain of the soil quality that their food is grown in.
Essential Fatty Acids
Fat is one of the three primary nutrients used as energy sources by the body (the other two being carbohydrates and protein), and ensures that fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are delivered and utilized by the body. There are a group of fats known as polyunsaturated fats, which contain essential fatty acids (EFA); they are essential because the body cannot synthesize them on its own, and therefore must acquire them from external sources. Polyunsaturated Fats can be divided into two main categories, Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are important for a structural and regulatory role in our bodies. In addition to helping form cell membranes, they regulate gene expression and support cell function.
Typically, it is beneficial to consume foods with a higher omega 3 to omega 6 ratio, which has positive effects on reducing inflammation. Consuming foods with high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio can increase inflammation levels in the body.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also prone to oxidation. When oxidized, they convert to trans fatty acids. You can avoid this by not cooking with PUFA oils (industrial seed oils). Oxidized PUFAs have a slew of side effects including inflammation, stiffening of arteries and reduced brain function.
Essential fatty acids make up our cell membranes, and are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain's integrity and ability to perform, as the human brain is composed of nearly 60 percent fat. Antioxidants protect the cells from oxidation (a chemical reaction that produces free radicals which damage the cells), but what actually builds the cell membrane, the outer shell or cell wall, is essential fatty acids (EFA). These fatty acids, which must come from outside sources, are the major constituent of all cellular membranes in the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids improve heart health, support mental health, reduce weight and waist size, decrease liver fat, support infant brain development, fight inflammation, prevent dementia, promote bone health, and prevent asthma.
Plant based sources of Omega-3: Nuts and seeds, particularly chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, avocado, olive oil, hemp seed oil.
Omega-6 fatty acids are important to support healthy brain and muscle functions but, on the downside, they promote inflammation in the body. Although omega-6 fats are essential, the modern Western diet contains far more omega-6 fatty acids than necessary, as they are present in many of the foods that people consume (for example, most baked goods, packaged foods like cookies and crackers, chips, french fries, breads, and snacks). Corn, soybean, safflower, cottonseed, grapeseed and sunflower oils are all high in omega 6’s and are not stable. This means any food that’s fried, baked, or microwaved using these oils will oxidize and create an inflammatory response in the body. The recommended ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is 4:1 or less. However, the Western diet has a ratio between 10:1 and 50:1. Therefore, although omega-6 fats are essential in the right quantities, most people in the developed world should aim to reduce their omega-6 intake.
Plant-based sources of Omega-6: Walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, olive oil, hemp seeds.
It is possible to thrive on a vegan diet, but to do so, it is important that one ensures they are receiving proper nutrition from the food they are eating. To do so, you will need to understand what supplements are recommended for vegan diet. Because of modern day agricultural practices, as well as the way many foods are processed, much of the food that people consume lacks the essential nutrients that it once did.
The nutrients that people are most commonly deficient in are protein, B-vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. We recommend that people on a vegan diet, and really anyone that wants to ensure they are giving the body what it needs to thrive on a daily basis, supplement these essential nutrients from a pure, natural, non-toxic, and bioavailable source. Our Spark of Life Bundle was created for this purpose of providing people the baseline of essential nutrients needed by the body.
Choosing to be vegan and to follow a plant-based diet is a powerful statement and one that has a big impact on oneself and society. It is a big life change, and we want to support this transition to a plant-based diet by helping you receive all that you need to make this lifestyle sustainable.