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5 nutrition supplements for vegans who workout

Vegans can suffer from nutrient deficiencies, especially if they are actively involved in physical workouts. Check out the food supplements that vegans must eat to ensure that you get a balanced diet.

Vegans eat food sourced from only plants, not only do they not eat meat, but they also do not eat or drink any food derived from animals. So, unlike vegetarians who do not mind eating the odd egg and drinking milk and having other dairy products, vegans abstain from dairy as well eggs. Before, someone objects to my reference to vegetarians eating eggs, remember that not all cakes and pastries and mayonnaise are egg less, and do not forget the 'butter naan' and sugar.

Anyway, let me get back to the vegans, who strictly refrain from anything that is made using animal products. If you are a vegan, you must think your diet might lack certain, essential nutrients. That is a concern that most vegans have. Well, foods that come from plant sources are healthy, but when you perform strenuous workouts, your body requires a little more and the diet just does not comply.

When you workout, your body requires extra nutrients, especially when the goal is to build muscle or to stay lean. A vegan diet will need to be supplemented to stay fit and in shape. So, here are five nutrition supplements that vegans must include in their diet when working out.

Protein supplements for vegans

Protein is needed for building muscle, so if you are working out, you need to increase your intake of the nutrient. Protein is healthy, especially when it comes from a plant source. The healthiest vegetarian protein source comes from soy products. Tofu makes an appetizing supplement, it is both healthy and tasty and also a good source of protein.

Tofu can be prepared in different ways. Have it grilled, with a dash of mixed herbs as a seasoning or spice it up with 'chat masala' and a squeeze of lime, for that tangy flavor, when you feel like a snack. It is a light snack and does not sit heavy on the stomach, so you can have it anytime during the day, without the fear of feeling too full. It is also low in calories.

Other ways of enjoying tofu are by dicing it and adding it to your salad or turning it into a healthy wrap, with your choice of sautéed veggies. Instead of palak-paneer, why not try a palak-tofu, it tastes just as good.

Other vegetarian protein sources are chickpeas, beans, avocados, buckwheat, lentils & legumes, peanuts, oats, almonds, quinoa and chia seeds.

Omega 3 fatty acids for vegans

Omega 3 fatty acids are called essential fatty acids. The best source for Omega 3 fatty acids is fatty fish, but vegans need not worry for there are many vegan options for them to try. Walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds are rich sources of the essential fatty acid. So, add them to your diet, but remember all seeds and nuts are calorie dense, so even though they are full of health benefits, you will need to control the amount you eat, especially if your workout is aimed at losing weight or staying lean.

You may also try omega 3 supplements for vegans.

Healthy flaxseeds can be powdered and added to a smoothie or the roti dough. Walnuts can be snacked on or added to a salad, for an extra crunch and flavor. Chia seeds make a good addition to a healthy salad.


Calcium is a micro nutrient essential for healthy teeth, bones and heart health. Being a vegan, you might be at risk of calcium deficiency. The body stops storing calcium in its bones, but it requires a constant supply of the mineral, for various bodily functions. If the diet doesn't supply enough of this nutrient, the body will take it from the bones and this can lead to a bone disorder called osteoporosis.

There are many non-dairy foods that can be a good source of calcium, particularly nuts and seeds. Oats and soy products are good sources too. Include a lot of green leafy veggies like mustard and turnip greens, broccoli and Chinese cabbage, ladyfinger into your meals, for your daily dose of calcium. Dried figs are also packed with the mineral.

Vitamin B12

Vegans can find it difficult to get their daily dose of Vitamin B12, as it is available only in animal products. Though there are claims that certain mushrooms and seaweed etc. are rich in this vitamin, the fact is that there is no scientific evidence to prove this, not yet. There are also no foods that come from plants that contain the vitamin B12.

Vegans must, therefore, look at fortified foods to get their dose of vitamin B12. Vitamin-fortified cereals, fortified bread, fortified juice, fortified soy and almond mil and fortified flour. Nutritional yeast is another option. Alternatively, vegans can take supplements in the form of capsules.


Meat is the best source of iron – it is complete and easily absorbed by the body. Iron that comes from meat is called heme iron. Vegans will need to get the mineral from non-heme foods, which are plant-based.

Iron-rich plant foods are in plenty. You can get non-heme iron from grains, green leafy veggies, vegetables and fruits, seeds and nuts, raisins, lentils and grains etc. Drumstick leaves or moringa or sahjan leaves are very rich in iron.

To prevent iron deficiency, check with your doctor if it's advisable for you to take iron capsules.

Include a variety of foods to ensure that your body receives ample iron.

A final tip

Since vegans eat only specific foods the risk of suffering from a deficiency is always high. Have a varied diet and include a lot of veggies and fruits, seeds and nuts and different types of grains in your diet. Go for periodical health check-ups and don't hesitate to take supplements, under your doctor's supervision, to prevent nutritional issues. Lack of the right nutrients can lead to medical conditions and you would want to avoid that.

Do you have any supplement advice to share with vegans? Do you have a nutrient that should be on this list? Let us know through the comment section.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 609 articles authored by Juana

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Author: Neelam18 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

A really nice article with all the details of nutrients and supplements. Such diets can be really useful for all those people who follows strict religious norms in various religion for eg- in Jainism and Hinduism.
One such person is my grandmother to whom I will suggest this diet as she often suffers with problems like pain in the legs and hands and I think its because of her bones getting weak and old age and also her vegan diet which according to her is best for mind and body.

Author: Juana17 Jul 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3


If your grandmother is suffering from pain in the limbs it is better to consult a doctor. Painful bones and joints are common in the elderly. A lot of times this could be due to an underlying health problem. Could she be suffering from arthritis? Have a doctor examine her to determine the problem.

Also, the body's requirements for nutrients changes as we age. Post-menopausal women, for instance, require extra calcium and vitamin D. The doctor's also advice post-menopausal women to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), since a lot of changes take place within the body, during this phase in a woman's life.

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