Food and Nutrition

Watch out: 6 Expected deficiencies in vegans

Puja Sharma Vasisht
1 to 3 years

Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht
Updated on Nov 01, 2016

Watch out 6 Expected deficiencies in vegans

Vegan diet is rich in fiber, vitamins C and E, minerals, phytochemicals and unsaturated fats, which helps in reduced risk of developing obesity, diabetes and certain types of cancer. But at the same time, a diet devoid of all animal products including milk and its products may, over a period of time, make you and your child deficient in some nutrients. It’s good to know these deficiencies so you can plan out a corrective action plan…

Vitamin B12: Since this vitamin can only be derived from an animal source such as milk, most vegans are likely to be deficient in this vitamin, the direct fallout of which is a negative impact on neurological and cardiac functions and also difficulty in concentration and macrocytic anemia*.

Get a regular blood test done to run a check. Up your intake of soy beverages, vitamin B12 fortified foods such as ready-to-eat breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast.  Take an advice of your doctor before taking or giving Vitamin B12 supplements to your child.

Omega-3 fats: Omega-3s are “essential” fatty acids and because the body isn’t capable of producing them on its own, we can only get them food or supplements. Omega-3s are essential for cardiac, brain and eye health. The richest source of this fatty acid are fish, sardines egg yolks – none of which are part of a Vegan diet. 

Vegans should include walnuts or flaxseed (or its oil) or canola oil in their diet. Chia seeds are a rich source of Omega-3 too (check at a premium grocery store near your home). For your child, check with your pediatrician for the requirement and right dosage of supplements. Since research suggests omega-3s help babies’ brains develop properly, many types of baby foods are already fortified with Omega-3.

Calcium: Since the best source of calcium is milk and its products, a calcium deficiency is likely – unless you are taking in the alternative sources in good quantity.

There are alternative food sources for calcium such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli, sesame seeds (and its paste – just grind the seeds really well with your teeth) and ragi flour. Calcium-fortified soymilk or juice is also another option for vegans. If you include these in ample quantity in your diet, you can avoid taking supplements.

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| Feb 21, 2017

do giving yellow food satisfy d need of omega 3 ? i give egg yolk , pumpkin ,papaya etc

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| Jan 24, 2017

sorry my son typed mistakenly... I too want food chart for my 1 year 5 months.. he is very active but not gaining wait.. still I'm feeding mother milk.. and he is not drinking other milk. planning to stop mother milk. really don't know how to stop. could you please any one suggest

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| Nov 03, 2016

what about iron and vitamin D .. What are the supplements for vegans

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