Deficiencies in vegetarian athletes
In a previous article, we told you about protein, vitamin B12 and iron in vegetarian athletes. In this one, we continue our tour of vitamins and minerals that can be compromised in a plant-based diet.
Calcium, vitamin D and omega-3
Calcium, vitamin D and omega-3s are three other nutrients that the vegan diet may lack given the absence of dairy products and fatty fish in their diet.
Vegans can get their calcium from soy, oat, almond, cashew or rice beverages and calcium-enriched orange juice, tofu with calcium, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, rutabaga, almonds , white beans, figs, etc. For vitamin D, which allows the absorption of calcium, daily exposure of your skin to the rays of the sun for 15 to 20 minutes in the summer allows it to be produced. Unfortunately, sunscreen and our winters prevent the sun’s rays from activating its synthesis, which is why you must opt for foods enriched with vitamin D such as soy drinks or supplements (if you do not consume fatty fish ).
Omega-3 fats help protect you against heart disease and are necessary for the proper development and functioning of your body. It is essential to obtain them through food, because the body does not produce them. Unfortunately, a small proportion of omega-3s from plants (flax, soy, walnuts and canola oil) can be transformed into active omega-3 fats in the body. Vegetarians therefore have the choice of consuming oily fish 2 to 3 times a week or increasing their consumption of plants rich in omega-3 (such as flaxseed, chia seed) to promote their conversion into omega-3 more active.
Top 5 vegetarian foods for active people
As athletes have higher needs for many nutrients, here are 5 foods to incorporate into your diet daily:
Soybeans, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds
Vitamin D-enriched soy beverage
Eggs (or tofu)
Nutritional yeast enriched with vitamin B12
To better balance your menu, call on a nutritionist! We have webinars on this subject that will allow you to optimize your diet, whether you are a seasoned vegetarian/vegan or simply want to reduce your meat consumption. We also have a Facebook group to discuss it with you! Find it right here.