A major challenge for vegans, who maintain a diet free of animal-derived ingredients, is getting the full range of vitamins and minerals traditionally provided by meat and dairy. Fruit and vegetables are high in vitamin C and fiber but often fall short in vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Fortunately, there are a number of breakfast cereals and soy milk products that are specifically fortified with these and other essential nutrients. Yeast extract is also an excellent source of vitamin B12 and adds a distinctive flavor to dishes such as tofu and lentils.
Beneficial to the heart, EPA and DHA are two types of omega-3 fats typically found in seafood. Certain ocean vegetables, such as kelp, contain these fats, as do supplements composed of micro algae. Alternatively, vegans seek out seeds and nuts, ranging from flaxseeds to walnuts, that contain omega-3 rich oils. These can be incorporated in salad dressings that feature leafy greens, which are also an excellent source of iron and iodine.