Calcium, Iron and Zinc
Calcium, iron and zinc are three minerals that are found in abundance in the meat, poultry, fish and milk of a non-vegetarian diet but they may be difficult for vegetarians and vegans to get enough of. Calcium is well-known as being essential for strong teeth and bones but it is also important for healthy gums, nerve impulses, a normal heart rhythm and the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Iron is needed for the formation of hemoglobin and the oxygenation of red blood cells. Zinc is essential for the well-being of the reproductive system, for immune health and healing and for collagen synthesis.
Not getting enough of these minerals opens up the body to at first minor problems such as lowered immune defenses and reduced energy levels. Over time a lack of calcium, iron and zinc can cause have something to do with the development of some chronic diseases such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
It is not difficult to get more then enough of these nutrients from a healthy vegan diet, but it is important to focus on excellent food sources. For calcium be sure to include lots of green leafy vegetables, and a variety of them. Eat almonds, blackstrap molasses, tofu, asparagus, oats, sesame seeds, cabbage and figs on a regular basis. Consider supplementing with sea greens and herbs, which are highly concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals. For calcium try kelp, dandelion greens, oat straw and raspberry leaves.
Iron is also found in green leafy vegetables, almonds, blackstrap molasses, soy products, sesame seeds, raspberry leaf and kelp. Other good sources include wheat bran, beets, lima beans, lentils, peaches, dulse and licorice.
For zinc eat plenty of mushrooms, pecans, soy, brewer's yeast, kelp, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and whole grains. Nettles, rosehips, chickweed and dandelion are all herbal sources.