Is coffee vegan

Why vegans should drink fruit juices and avoid coffee

Provocative meat eaters like to confront vegetarians and vegans with the thesis that plant-based food leads to a deficiency of iron or vitamin B12, which sooner or later makes you pale and sick. Both, say AOK experts, are “myths”. Nevertheless, nutritionists recommend above all to vegans, who forego not only meat and fish, but also all foods of animal origin, to consciously and carefully ensure that they consume enough of these two essential substances through their food. Because it is also a fact: Vitamin B12 actually only occurs in significant amounts in animal foods. And the body can absorb iron from animal foods better than when it comes from plant foods.

What the body needs vitamin B 12 and iron for

Iron is a vital trace element: it is part of hemoglobin, responsible for transporting oxygen and storing oxygen in the muscles. It also provides energy in the cell and is involved in the formation of hormones and messenger substances. Vitamin B12 is essential for cell division, blood formation, energy release and the functioning of the nervous system.

How vegans can get enough iron

When vegans or vegetarians eat whole grains, legumes, or vegetables, they also contain iron. But: the body can absorb iron better from animal foods than from plant-based foods. There is a trick to compensate for this: combine iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods such as peppers, cabbage or citrus fruits. This combination allows the body to better absorb iron even with a purely plant-based diet; an iron deficiency can be prevented.

Lots of iron plus lots of vitamin C: this is how you combine plant-based foods correctly

  • Potatoes with bell pepper or broccoli vegetables
  • Cereal patties with kohlrabi vegetables
  • Spaetzle with sauerkraut or cabbage potato noodles
  • Muesli with tangerine pieces or fruit juice
  • Currant and orange juice spritzer
  • Lemon Salmon Spinach.

Vegans, so experts say, need to be particularly vigilant about their iron budget. This is all the more true if you also do endurance sports and your iron requirement is increased due to exercise. That is why it is not only important for them to select and combine foods in a targeted manner - but also to consistently omit certain foods: foods that contain polyphenols. They inhibit the absorption of iron, as the health magazine "Apotheken Umschau" writes. Accordingly, polyphenols are mainly found in coffee, tea and red wine.

How vegans can get enough vitamin B 12

Vitamin B12 is only found in significant amounts in foods of animal origin. Vegetarians who forego meat, but only use “harvested” foods such as milk, eggs or cheese from animals, find it even easier with their nutrient supply. So-called pesco vegetarians, who also occasionally eat fish, fill the vitamin B12 stores in the liver with salmon, herring or trout. "However, if there are neither eggs, dairy products or fish on the menu, it really becomes critical," say AOK nutrition experts. "Vegans are predestined for an undersupply and have to take vitamin B12 as a food supplement." Experts advise vegans to take the vitamin as a preparation from the pharmacy or in the form of fortified juices, flakes or milk alternatives. There is even toothpaste with vitamin B12.

Vitamin B 12: Seniors and pregnant women also have too little

Adequate vitamin B12 intake is by no means solely an issue for vegans. What many do not know: with increasing age, an undersupply often occurs even in non-vegans. Patients with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, pregnant women, babies or breastfeeding mothers can also be affected earlier. They too have to ensure that they have a good supply of vitamin B-12.

Photo: AdobeStock / yaisirichai

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