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5 Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Vegetarians

  • Vitamin B-12. A supplement of this essential vitamin, absent from plant foods, is critical for vegetarians.

  • Calcium. For vegans, fortified orange juice or fortified soy products can help. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can get calcium from dairy products.

  • Vitamin D. Because cow's milk and sunlight are major sources, vegans who shun the sun should take vitamin D supplements.

  • Zinc. Red meat is a prime source, but vegetarians can compensate with beans, lentils and soy foods.

  • Iron. The body absorbs iron from plants more poorly than iron from animal sources. Non-meat sources of iron include dried beans and peas and dark greens.

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