By Dr Sarah Schenker, Dietitian
A report by Berocca has revealed that feeling constantly tired and having low energy levels is having a negative impact on people’s social lives. Of the 2000 people surveyed, nearly a third said that their low energy levels meant that they turned down invitations to spend time with friends and family and nearly half said it meant they missed out on new experiences. It also stopped them from exercising more regularly, becoming fit and achieving personal goals.
Low motivation and lack of energy can be caused by poor diet. While it is often thought that a vegan diet is the healthiest way to eat, it is not always the case. Being nutritionally healthy means meeting your daily requirement for all the essential nutrients your body needs, this can be achieved through careful planning and understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet. Without real effort to plan and prepare meals, especially those eaten outside the home, it is easy to resort to lazy choices such as sugary snacks and fizzy drinks.
Some people following a vegan diet may become deficient in a few important nutrients due to restrictions on what they eat. Plant-based foods contain smaller quantities of some nutrients and are less easily absorbed than those from animal products. It can be difficult to get enough of some B vitamins in particular B12 and B2 as well as the minerals iron and calcium. Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin where it is routinely recommended that a supplement is taken. This is because it is only found naturally in animal foods. However, it is worth noting that not all vitamin supplements are suitable for vegans, so check the label (most Berocca supplements are vegan friendly). Other vegan friendly foods that have vitamin B12 added, include breakfast cereals, plant milks and Marmite.
A vegan diet offers the opportunity to enjoy more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, all of which are the cornerstones for a healthy diet, but a lack of B vitamins which are important for the release of energy from food and drinks, could be the root cause of tiredness and lethargy and impact on being able to enjoy life.
Tagged in Vegan