Daily Recommendations

These recommendations address the nutrients which are of more concern in vegan than omnivore diets, but they are not everything anyone needs to know about eating for optimal health. If, in addition to the nutrients that are of more concern in vegan diets, you would like general information on eating healthfully as a vegan, Vegan For Life, by Jack Norris and Ginny Messina, contains a comprehensive discussion and menu planning for vegans.

Where suggested below, "synthetic" vitamins and minerals are effective at preventing deficiencies.

Nutrient Recommendations for Vegans
Vitamin B12
Vitamin D On days when you do not get enough sunlight:
Iodine 75 - 150 mcg every few days
Vitamin A 900 RAEb for men; 700 RAE for women
Good sources: carrot juice, kale, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe
Protein 3 - 4 servings of high lysine foods which include:
  • legumes - 1/2 cup cooked
    • peanuts (1/4 cup)
    • beans - garbanzos, kidney, pinto, navy
    • lentils
    • peas - split or green
    • soyfoods - edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk (1 cup), soy meats (3 oz)
  • seitan - 3 oz (85 g)
  • quinoa - 1 cup cooked
  • amaranth - 1 cup cooked
  • pistachios - 1/4 cup
  • pumpkin seeds - 1/4 cup roasted
Cross-sectional studies have found similar rates of iron deficiency anemia in vegetarians as in meat-eaters. Anecdotally, vegan men and non-menstruating women do not have much difficulty getting or absorbing enough iron, but vegan menstruating women sometimes do. Iron tips:
  • Eat foods high in vitamin C at meals to significantly increase iron absorption - citrus fruits, strawberries, green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, swiss chard, brussel sprouts), bell peppers (yellow, red, and green), and cauliflower.
  • Do not drink coffee, or black, green or herbal tea with meals; they inhibit iron absorption.
Zinc Good sources are legumes, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, bread, tempeh, miso, multivitamin or zinc supplement.
aIn foods, B12 is measured in micrograms (aka "µg" or "mcg"). 1,000 µg = 1 mg. | bThe vitamin A content of foods is now stated as retinol activity equivalents (RAE).