A poorly planned vegetarian diet is often lacking in nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin B12 is found mainly in animal-based foods. Plant-based foods do not contain vitamin B12, which is secreted by bacteria. Vitamin B12 is crucial to health, and when taking vitamin B12 through the diet, antioxidants and phytochemicals should be included at the same time to enhance the body’s absorption of the vitamin.
Iron content is rather low in a vegetarian diet. Yet, research has shown that iron sourced from plant foods is better for the human body than iron from animal-based foods. Vegetarians should therefore consume more iron-rich plant foods to ensure that they are taking in sufficient iron. Iron absorption can be further boosted by consuming plant foods that are rich in antioxidants example health supplements at the same time.
Omega 3 fatty acids are another nutrient needed by the human body. They are common in animal based foods like fish, but large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from plant foods. Plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids are free from high cholesterol and harmful side effects, and they contain nutrients beneficial to health, such as antioxidants, phytochemicals, and polysaccharides.
Thus, a diet consisting of primarily plant foods can be a balanced and nutritionally adequate diet, so long as nutrients are sourced from the right places.