People who don’t eat vegetables substitute their diets with vitamins and other types of supplements. Vitamin K, fiber, potassium, and magnesium are some types of nutrients found in vegetables that you can supplement. Appropriate and balanced supplementation helps to fill gaps in your nutritional intake and gain some of the benefits of a vegetable-rich diet.
You aren’t alone if you’d rather take a supplement every day instead of eating broccoli for dinner. Data from the CDC shows that 87% of Americans aren’t eating enough veggies. Vitamins and other types of supplements are not effective replacements for vegetables, but supplementation does help anyone who dislikes or struggles to eat vegetables. Today, we’ll go over the top nutrients to supplement if you don’t eat vegetables and product recommendations.
Can vitamins replace vegetables?
No, vitamins cannot replace vegetables. Vitamin supplements are meant to be used in addition to your diet. The nutrients found in vegetables cannot be fully substituted by supplements. Vitamins and other types of supplements fill in gaps in your nutritional intake but lack the chemical complexity of vegetables. One type of supplement will provide the benefit of one or more forms of vitamins but not the full nutritional benefits of vitamin-rich vegetables like kale or bok choy. Therefore, it’s healthier to incorporate both supplements and vegetables into your diet. Speak to a nutritionist about the types of foods and vitamins to take if you don’t eat vegetables.
Top supplements if you don’t eat vegetables
Supplements help boost your nutritional intake if you don’t eat vegetables. The supplements listed below are helpful alternatives to substitute some of the benefits of vegetables.
Fiber supplements substitute types of dietary fiber for people who don’t eat vegetables. You may be getting enough fiber if you are eating fruit and whole grains. Not eating enough fiber leads to a fiber deficiency, affecting your digestive system and blood sugar levels. Fiber is also important to maintaining gut flora. Microbes in our gut eat fiber. Without enough fiber, they starve and “bad” species of microbes can take over. These microbes can end up feeding on the lining of the gut! Imbalanced gut flora is linked to heart disease, obesity, depression, autoimmune disorders, IBS, and much more. Taking a fiber supplement like Psyllium and incorporating more food-based, non-vegetable sources of fiber into your diet helps prevent bad gut microbes.
Try: NOW Psyllium Husk Capsules
Psyllium is made from the husks of the plantago plant. It doesn’t taste too bad, so you can also get psyllium powder and mix it into smoothies or desserts.
Vitamin K is important to supplement if you don’t eat vegetables because it is mostly found in dark leafy greens. Natural sources and supplementation of Vitamin K are key in maintaining blood health and clotting. Vitamin K is also responsible for the creation of K2 in the body. Vitamin K2 works to carry calcium where it needs to go in the body and prevents it from hardening in our arteries, leading to heart disease. Foods like kale are rich sources of both vitamin K and calcium. However, it is possible to substitute Vitamin K through supplementation but with limited benefits.
Try: Vitamin K2 with Coconut Oil by Sports Research
Sports Research’s vitamin K2 supplement is a suitable vitamin supplement for people who don’t eat vegetables because it is formulated with oil. As a fat-soluble vitamin, you need some fat to help vitamin K2 absorption.
Phytonutrients and antioxidants
Phytonutrients (also called phytochemicals) are chemicals found in plants. Many types of phytonutrients are also antioxidants that help prevent cell damage. It’s hard to keep up with all the different types of phytonutrients. Some of these have been extensively studied, such as lycopene and beta carotene. The health benefits of others are only now being discovered.
If you consume chocolate, tea, or wine, you are already getting a healthy dose of certain types of phytonutrients. However, there is no replacement for eating a wide variety of plant-based foods. If you hate veggies, consider eating lots of berries and bright-colored fruits. Peaches, melons, and mangos are examples of rich sources of phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Many phytonutrients die off quickly when exposed to air or processing. So, you’ve really got to choose your supplement wisely. Otherwise, you will be consuming an expensive pill full of inactive nutrients.
Try: Klamath Blue Green Algae
Like plants, blue-green algae are able to perform photosynthesis to create chlorophyll. In addition to being one of the best bioavailable sources of chlorophyll, the algae also are packed with beta carotene, amino acids, biotin, and vitamins and minerals.
You’ll usually find vitamin A formulated in multivitamins rather than a supplement on its own. However, it’s popular for people to take vitamin A because of its skin benefits. Before starting to supplement with vitamin A, consider eating more butter and oily fish instead. Vitamin A is fat-soluble so you’ll want to take it with healthy fat to aid absorption.
Try: Thorne Research Vitamin A Capsules
Thorne makes one of the better-quality vitamin A supplements available. The capsules aren’t expensive so it won’t put too much of a dent in your budget to take them daily.
Potassium and potassium supplements have a range of benefits for the body. Potassium affects your nerve signals, body fluid levels, and muscle contractions. If you are suffering from fatigue, anxiety, muscle cramps, and poor immunity, then potassium deficiency might be the reason. Try eating more bananas, oranges, and yogurt if you don’t eat vegetables. Otherwise, you can take a potassium supplement to replace vegetable sources.
Try: NOW Potassium Citrate
NOW makes affordable and high-quality supplements. Their potassium citrate contains 99mg and a single bottle will last you 6 months.
Traditional magnesium supplements are not always effective because magnesium is poorly absorbed in the digestive tract. Magnesium and its substitutes affect brain and heart health. Chronically low levels of magnesium will lead to a deficiency, causing irritability, tension, insomnia, and other negative effects. Deficiencies are common due to low absorption rates. Therefore, it is better to get your magnesium through the skin, such as with an Epsom salt bath.
Try: Epsoak Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is just another name for magnesium. Add 1-2 cups to your bath water and soak in it. Epsom salt baths are great before bedtime to help you relax.
Fermented cod liver oil
Fermented cod liver oil (or FCLO) is a potent anti-inflammatory agent which boosts immunity and overall health. It is rich in vitamins A and D, as well as Omega 3 fatty acids. The nutrients in FCLO are absorbed better than those in fish oil because it is fermented. Fermentation also means that FCLO is a source of vitamin K2, which is crucial for bone health – especially if you aren’t eating vegetables or other fermented foods.
Try: Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Green Pasture is one of the few brands which makes their product exclusively from wild-caught cod and is raw. The oil also contains a butter blend from grass-fed cows.
Whole-food raw multivitamins
Whole-food raw multivitamins are made from plants that have had nutrients extracted and dried without using high temperatures to process them. The goal of raw, real-food multivitamins is that all of the nutrients will be present, including phytonutrients and trace nutrients. Raw also means that the nutrients contain enzymes needed for digestion and absorption.
There is limited research as to whether raw multivitamins are better than synthetic supplements. It is potentially a suitable alternative for people who do not eat vegetables but should not be considered a total replacement.
Try: Garden of Life Whole Vegetable Supplement
Garden of Life’s supplement contains a huge variety of plant-based blends, including sprouted lentils and grasses, sea vegetables, beets, carrots, and probiotics. The only issue is that Garden of Life uses proprietary blends, so there is no way of knowing exactly how much of each nutrient is provided.
Last update on 2023-05-27 UTC -5 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API - Details