Home #AtoZChallenge 9 Important Vitamins for Vegetarians

9 Important Vitamins for Vegetarians

by Vidya Sury April 25, 2013 17 comments
blueberries on white ceramic container vitamins for vegetarians

V is for Vitamins for Vegetarians on Day 22 of the A to Z Challenge.

We don’t need a rocket scientist to tell us vitamins and minerals are mandatory components of our diet and there is research to prove that vitamins help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and a host of other health issues. Remember Science lessons from school? A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can give you all you need and there are supplements to make life easier.

What about vitamins for vegetarians?

Vegetarianism has been gaining popularity over the last few years. There are studies to show that a balanced vegetarian diet can help you live a healthier life by lowering hypertension, and obesity and protecting against a variety of cancers. There is a misconception that vegetarians cannot get all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins they need from their diet. Vitamin supplements can be a blessing (with your doctor’s advice).

Here’s a look at essential vitamins and sources for vegetarians.

Vitamins for vegetarians


This is an antioxidant that you get from carrots, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, butternut squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, and green peppers – it is a long list. This antioxidant gets converted into vitamin A in our body which promotes healthy vision and skin and strengthens the immune system. It is best to get your beta-carotene from fruits and veggies rather than vitamin supplements.

Salads for elevating energy levels


We need calcium for bone health and to prevent osteoporosis. The richest source of calcium is dairy products which include milk, yogurt, and cheese. Should you take vitamin supplements for these? If you can’t tolerate dairy, probably, but not if you are over 70 or if you have kidney stones. If you can take them, make sure to get your doctor to prescribe vitamin D for better calcium absorption.

dairy, food group, health - Milk yogurt and cheese - vitamins for vegetarians

Folic acid

Folic acid or folate or Vitamin B9 is sourced from yeast extracts, sunflower seeds, dark green leafy veggies, bean sprouts, beans, asparagus, peanuts, bread, pasta, and citrus fruit juice, besides fortified breakfast cereal. It is critical for the prevention of spina bifida in fetuses, DNA synthesis, and cell growth, repair, and division. Deficiencies lead to anemia in adults and delayed development in children. Obviously, pregnant or lactating women need a larger dose than others and it is possible to get it from food and supplements.

green leaves - Vitamins for vegetarians


Iron carries oxygen to all parts of the body and is essential for blood health as it prevents anemia. Prolonged deficiency can result in organ failure while too much is not good either since it gets in the way of our metabolism. The good news is that it is rare to get an overdose, thanks to our body’s ability to naturally regulate iron. For vegetarians, foods high in iron are squash, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans and pulses, whole grains, bran, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate (yes!), cocoa powder, and tofu (bean curd). If you happen to be anemic, your doctor may advise you to add a supplement to your diet.

nuts, almonds, seeds - vitamins for vegetarians


Potassium helps lower blood pressure and balances your heart rhythm while dealing with excess sodium. A deficiency can make you irritable, and fatigued and increase your blood pressure. Natural food sources for Potassium are white beans, bananas, raisins, dark leafy greens, baked potatoes, dried apricots, yogurt, mushrooms, oranges, and milk. If you are on diuretics for heart problems which results in draining your potassium, you may need a supplement. Too much potassium is dangerous for those with kidney problems.

brown wooden spoon with red and brown beans - vitamins for vegetarians


We need selenium to keep our thyroid function healthy and to protect us against free radical damage and cancer. Deficiencies can cause muscle pain, and hair issues and sometimes lead to Hashimoto’s disease (where our own immune system attacks the thyroid). Too much selenium can result in bad breath, hair loss, and diarrhea. Vegetarian sources are nuts, sunflower seeds, wheat/rice/oat bran.

nuts, almonds, seeds - vitamins for vegetarians

Vitamin C

A must-have for bone health, Vitamin C is a champ. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant with a long list of benefits. Vegetarians can get it from red and green hot chili peppers, bell peppers, guavas, fresh herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwi fruits, papayas, oranges, and other citrus fruits and strawberries. While supplements are fine, you can get all you need through your diet.

sliced orange fruit and green round fruits - vitamins for vegetarians

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium and bone health and the best source is sunlight. Vit D fights inflammation, prevents rickets and strengthens the immune system while controlling cell growth. Too much can cause a heart attack and kidney stones. Food sources are fortified dairy products, soy products and mushrooms.

bean, white kong, backup status - vitamins for vegetarians

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps prevent oxidative stress and is believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, and eye damage through aging. It also helps control inflammation. Too much results in bleeding. Sources for vegetarians include sunflower seeds, paprika, red chili powder, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, dried basil and oregano, dried apricots, olives, and spinach.

olive oil, olives, food - vitamins for vegetarians

The good news is eating a varied diet can help ensure that we get all the vitamins we need. Don’t forget to consult your doctor if you are considering supplements. Too much of a good thing can also be bad, you know.

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Corinne Rodrigues April 25, 2013 at 8:04 am

Packed with information, this post is. Bookmarking it for future reference. Thanks.
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Pheno Menon April 25, 2013 at 8:21 am

Now thats a very “V”italizing post I must say 🙂

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Harleena Singh April 25, 2013 at 8:21 am

Hi Vidya,

I agree with Corinne – this is surely a post worth book marking 🙂

Loved all that you shared, and I feel happy that I am a vegetarian and I guess taking everything in moderation ensures that your vitamin intake is there.

Thanks for sharing 🙂
Harleena Singh recently posted…How to Get Kids to Listen to You

Galen Pearl April 25, 2013 at 8:29 am

Many people in my part of the world, the rainy Pacific Northwest, suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. I had my blood tested a few years ago and found this was true for me. So now I take a supplement.

Great post, and although I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t eat much meat, so this was very helpful information.
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Rahul April 25, 2013 at 9:36 am

Loads of useful information foor a veggie like me:)

Ruchira April 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

Very informative ! Thank you Vidya for this post !
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Roshni April 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

Very interesting, Vidya! I guess the take-home message is to eat healthy and a lot of variety!

Suzy April 25, 2013 at 10:34 am

A very informative post Vidya. Thanks for sharing.
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Rachna April 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

Very informative post, Vidya. There are many things that are high in Calcium even for vegetarians like our greens, sesame seeds, kabuli chana etc.
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Shilpa Garg April 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

Very informative post, Vidya!
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Afshan April 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

That’s quite an informative post
Loved it
Should track and keep checking whenever I need it

janu April 25, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Power packed information.

sharmila April 26, 2013 at 12:23 am

Nice compilation !
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Nandana April 26, 2013 at 12:26 am

Full of useful info. Should incorporate some in my diet
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Vishnu April 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

I’ve always been concerned about iron because I have been a vegetarian for the past 15 years Vidya. I make up for it by eating tofu – a lot of it! I’m a tofuholic if there’s such a thing:) So many ways to eat tofu!

For the rest of the vitamins – I eat fruits and take a multi-vitamin tablet.

Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes April 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Excellent information. My daughter is a vegetarian. I was really proud of the way she researched about vitamins needed for her health.

Rhonda @Laugh Quotes

Docusate sodium otc May 15, 2022 at 9:13 pm

I just completed the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate Program from the Center for Nutrition Studies at E-Cornell University. According to Dr. Campbell, when we follow a Whole Foods Plant Based diet, we don’t need any supplements except for Vitamin B12 and maybe Vitamin D if we are not getting enough sun exposure. The key is to consume a VARIETY of plant based foods. 🌱


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