Many vegetarians and vegans don’t get enough vitamin B12 from their diets, as well as other important components of a healthy diet. There are many nutritional elements that are naturally found in animal products such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs and cheese.
Food is essential for survival. Food gives us energy and nutrition. The nutrition derived from food affects the health of our blood, cells, and organs, in addition to our brain and spinal cord.
Vitamin B12 is vital for blood formation and tissue expansion. A vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to insufficient red blood cells, fatigue and neuropathy. Since vitamin B12 is not found in plant-based foods at all, vegetarians need to supplement their diets with this vitamin.
Animal products are complete proteins. This means that they contain all eight of the essential amino acids for optimal body function. These are the building blocks of cells. In contrast, plant-based foods only contain some of these amino acids. Therefore, it is recommended by nutritionists that plant-based protein foods (such as beans and tofu) should be eaten together with whole-grain foods (such as rice, oats and quinoa, etc.).
Iron is necessary in the red blood cells to carry oxygen. If there is not enough iron in the blood, the organs do not get enough oxygen and the person feels tired. Animal protein is rich in iron. Nuts have iron, but should be consumed together with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes. Combining these food groups will help a person obtain more of the iron from the nuts and beans.
Knowledge of proper nutrition will help a vegetarian live a healthy, productive life.