Sources of Vitamins & Minerals

When you’re transitioning to veganism, you may not know where to start with nutrition and ensuring you’re getting everything you need to be healthy. If you eat a balanced, varied diet then you’ll easily get what you need, but it may take some planning at first.

PROTEIN

Used for growth and repair of body tissues. 

  • Tofu
  • Beansprouts
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Soya milk
  • Wholegrains
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Hummous

FATS (ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS)

Essential for brain and nerve function. 

  • Soybean oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts)
  • Avocados

VITAMIN A

Powerful anti-oxidant. Sight, bone and teeth, growth and tissue repair. 

  • Carrots
  • Butternut squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red and yellow peppers
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Dried apricots
  • Tomatoes
  • Mango

VITAMIN C

Used to fight infection and helps form and maintain connective tissue. 

  • Green leafy vegetables eg. broccoli, parsley
  • Potatoes
  • Blackcurrants
  • Frozen peas
  • Oranges
  • Mango

VITAMIN E

Helps with tissue healing and protects against disease.

  • Sweet potato
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Nuts and seeds eg. almonds
  • Wholegrains

VITAMIN K

For blood clothing and healthy bones. 

  • Green leafy vegetables eg. broccoli, collards
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Seaweed eg. kelp
  • Lettuce
  • Lentils
  • Peas

VITAMIN D

The sunshine vitamin. Needed for healthy bones and teeth.

Note: Many Irish people are deficient as we do not get enough sun in Ireland. Most doctors recommend a supplement. 

Found in fortified foods:

  • Cereals
  • Soya milk
  • Margarine

B GROUP 

(B1 Thiamine, B2 Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B4 Adenine, B5 Pantotheic acid, B6 Pyridoxine, B9 Folate, Biotin) 

Important for energy, cell growth and the nervous system. 

  • Beansprouts
  • Spirulina
  • Avocado
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Mushrooms
  • Yeast extract
  • Beans and lentils
  • Kale
  • Bananas
  • Oranges

VITAMIN B12

Helps keep nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. Vegans should supplement to ensure a consistent supply. 

Found in fortified products:

  • Soya milk
  • Cereals
  • Margarine
  • Yeast extract (eg. Marmite)

CALCIUM

For healthy bones, teeth and muscles. 

  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Almonds
  • Green leafy veg eg: kale, spinach, watercress
  • Broccoli
  • Swede
  • Calcium set tofu
  • Soya milk (fortified)
  • Tahini

IRON

Used in production of red blood cells and oxygen transportation. 

  • Green leafy vegetables eg: kale, cabbage
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Dried apricots
  • Dates

IODINE

Needed for metabolism and healthy thyroid gland. 

  • Cranberries
  • Seaweed eg. kelp
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb

Note: Seaweed is the best vegan source of iodine.

ZINC

Needed for strong immune system and to heal wounds.

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Lentils
  • Wild rice
  • Tempeh
  • Tahini
  • Tofu

MAGNESIUM

For bone strength, nerve and muscle function. 

  • Beans
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Wholegrains eg. brown rice
  • Figs
  • Soya beans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Bananas
  • Apricots
  • Cashew nuts
  • Almonds

COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES

For energy.  

  • Oats
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Corn
  • Wholegrain rice
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Wholegrain pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Beans and lentils

FIBRE

Essential for healthy bowels. It helps lower cholesterol and regulates appetite. 

  • Variety of fruit and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wholegrains
  • Beans and lentils

SELENIUM, POTASSIUM & PHOSPHOROUS

Selenium is an antioxidant and fights disease. Potassium maintains normal blood pressure. Phosphorous helps filter waste in the kidneys and plays an essential role in  how the body stores and uses energy. 

  • Brazil nuts (Note: very high in selenium. Don’t eat too many to avoid selenium poisoning)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash
  • White beans
  •  Beans and lentils
  • Wholegrains
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Yeast extract
  • Tomatoes