Should I Take Vitamins and Other Nutritional Supplements?

Many people are curious if I take supplements because of my plant-based diet. I do take vitamins and in this post I'll share with you what I take and why. However, please note that eating a diet full of whole, nutritious foods, is an amazing way to get vitamins and minerals directly through your foods. So while you can supplement, you don't need to stress over it or consume handfuls of supplements each morning for health. I'll highlight the major ones and cite what the best doctors advise plant-based eaters.

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Vitamin B-12

Dr. Fuhrman in his book Eat to Live focused on the vitamin question in Chapter 10. He says, "I often recommend that people take sensibly designed, high-quality vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure that they get enough vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc, and iodine." Regarding vitamin B12, which "helps make red blood cells and keeps your nervous system working properly," Dr. Fuhman says B12 is found mainly in animal-product foods. He warns, "vegetarians would be foolish not to play it safe, either by taking a B12 supplement or a multivitamin or by consuming foods that have been fortified with vitamin B12." I buy Vegan True Methyl Cobalamin Cherry-Flavored Sublingual Vitamin B12 from Vitacost. The dissolvable tablets pictured above from Whole Foods are also great. Finally, I highly recommend the Garden of Life brand, a company that makes their capsules from real raw whole foods. This method is far superior to synthetics. 

If you have Dr. Fuhman's book Eat to Live, I would recommend reading or re-reading this chapter. This is my go-to book for information and recipes, although I am acquiring a large library of plant-based books, and I enjoy and appreciate all of them. You can find more of my recommendations here.

Iron

Along with B12, I also take Garden of Life Vitamin Codeยฎ RAW Ironโ„ข -- 22 mg - 30 Vegetarian Capsules, which I also purchase at Vitacost. Because women who have gone through menopause usually do not need as much iron as women who have not, I am careful to not take too much iron. I only take a couple of these a month, which is just my personal choice. I do believe everyone should have their iron level checked periodically. Eating plant-based foods that contain iron helps balance your iron level. Those foods include: rice, beans, leafy veggies, nuts, and seeds, and eating strawberries or an orange when eating these foods can add to iron absorption.

Again, eating whole, plant-based foods are amazing sources of nutritious vitamins! I recently posted a great iron-rich rice and beans dish that also incorporates spaghetti squash, which is high in vitamins A and C, as well as B vitamins, folate, beta-carotene, lutein, potassium, and zinc. It is easy to get tons of vitamins when you are eating nutritious foods. Overtime, you'll find a whole food, plant-based diet to provide for you a strong body and heart, with tons of energy, and lovely skin and hair.