Vegetarian foods for Proteins, Iron, B12, Zinc, Calcium, Omega 3

In the following tables you can find Vegetarian sources for nutrients that vegetarian people may be concerned about. My advise as a Vegetarian is not to be too calculative with that, but instead to try to diversify the foods so as to receive a little bit of everything that the body needs. Usually, you will naturally seek foods that are rich with proteins when your body needs it.

Some Vegetarian Food Sources for Proteins

Proteins may be the most important nutrient that vegetarians "lose" by not eating animals, but luckily there are other sources for proteins, especially if one is vegetarian and not vegan. See explanations about this issue in the first page.
  • In this table, percentage of Proteins as total weight of product.
Eggs
Eggs 14 %
Dairy
Cow milk
3 %
Goat milk
6 %
Cheeses
10 to 40 %
Parmesan cheese
35 %
Gruyre cheese
30 %
Cheddar cheese
25 %
Camembert cheese
20 %
Feta cheese
15 %
Ricotta cheese
11 %
Beans
Most beans
25 %
Soy beans
36 %
Lentils
28 %
Tempeh (soy product)
18 %
Tofu
15 %
Soy milk
6 %
Nuts, Seeds, Cereals   
Peanuts
26 %
Peanut butter
24 %
Almonds
21 %
Pistacho
21 %
Nuts
24 %
Cashews, hazelnuts   
15 %
Sunflower seeds   
22 %
Pecans
9 %
Oat
16 %
Quinoa
13 %
Sesame butter, tahina  
17 %
Rice - brown
9 %
Rice - white 7 %
Powders rich in proteins (for athletes…)           
Soy Protein Isolate   
80 %
Whey Protein Isolate (made from milk)   
78 %
Vegetables
Chickpeas
9 %
Peas
5 %
Corn
9 %
Fruits
Fruits are low in Proteins
1 %

Remarks about the Protein table:
  • All info was taken from the U.S National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, you can search there for more foods.
  • The number indicates the percentage of Proteins from the total weight of the product, note that some products are more easy to eat than others, it is easier to drink half kilo of milk than eat half kilo of almonds.
  • The powders rich in Proteins for athletes, are products from which the water has been extracted, so it is no surprise that they contain a  concentrated amount of proteins, usually you drink these powders with milk or water.
  • The indicated amounts of proteins in the table are for raw food, when the food is cooked it looses a lot of its proteins. For instance cooked rice contains only 3 % of proteins, compared to 7 % when it is not. (See the Nutrient Database for the differences between cooked and not).
  • Not all proteins are digested with the same efficiency by the human body. Eggs proteins are digested by the body at almost 100 %, but wheat gluten is absorbed only at 25 %.  This value is called Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDAAS).

Some Vegetarian Food Sources for Iron (mineral)

(Foods with high content of Iron)

  • The numbers, on the right column are for 100 gram of product.
Soybeans
3.55 mg
Lentils
7.54 mg
Falafel
3.42 mg
Sesame seeds
14.55 mg
Pumpkin Seeds
8.82 mg
Spirulina- dried
28.50 mg
Spinach
2.71 mg
Raisins
1.79 mg
Spaghetti, whole-wheat, dry
3.63 mg
Brussels sprouts, raw
1.40 mg
Dried Peaches
4.06 mg

  • The recommended intake of Iron for an adult male is 8 mg a day, for women 18 mg, for pregnant women 27 mg.

Some Vegetarian Food Sources for B12 (vitamin)

  • The numbers, on the right column are for 100 gram of product.
Egg
0.89 g
Milk
0.36 g
Cheeses
0.3-1.0 g
Yogurt
0.50 g

  • The recommended intake of B12 for an adult ranges from 2 to 3 g per day
  • B12 is found almost only in the animal world. B12 vitamin is also added artificially (fortified) in many industrial products like breakfast cereals, soy milk and yeast extracts.
  • In case there is B12 deficiency, pills of it should be taken.

Some Vegetarian Food Sources for Zinc (mineral)

  • The numbers, on the right column are for 100 gram of product.
Cereals wheat germ, toasted, plain
16.67 mg
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried
7.81 mg
Chocolate, dark, 60-69% cacao solids
2.65 mg
Peanuts
3.27 mg
Almonds
3.08 mg
Cheese, mozzarella
2.92 mg
  • The recommended intake of Zinc for an adult is 15 mg per day

Some Vegetarian Food Sources for Calcium (Mineral)

  • The numbers, on the right column are for 100 gram of product.
Milk, 1% fat
125  mg
Yogurt, plain, skim milk
199 mg
Cheese, mozzarella
505 mg
Cheese, cottage, creamed
83 mg
Cheese, gruyere
1011 mg
Ice cream, soft serve, chocolate 131 mg
Almonds
267 mg
Beans, white, canned
73 mg
Soybeans, green, cooked
145 mg
Tofu, fried
372 mg
Chickpeas (garbanzo), raw
105 mg
Hummus, commercial
38 mg
Oranges, raw
72 mg

  • The recommended intake of Calcium for an adult is 1000 mg per day
  • All cheeses like Blue, Brick, Cheddar, Edam, Gouda, Gruyere, Swiss, Mozzarela etc are very high in Calcium.
  • There are in the market fortified products with calcium like fortified soy, almond, rice beverages, orange juice.

Some Vegetarian Food sources for Omega 3

  • The numbers, on the right column are for 100 gram of product.
Flax / Linseed oil
58  gram
Walnut oil
11 gram
Canola
7 gram
Soybean oil
7 gram
Wheatgerm oil
7 gram
Flax / Linseeds
20 gram
Pumpkin seeds
8 gram
  • The recommended intake of Omega-3s is 220 mg per day (it varies a lot between organizations)
  • Omega 3 is found mainly in Fish and sea food.
Remark: I have mentioned in the tables above some nutritients that vegetarians may be concerned about because they are abundant in animals and they are the most common deficiencies found in Vegetarian people, but :
  • If you are vegetarian, it doesn't mean that you lack these nutrients. (go for a medical check from time to time, to find out)
  • The body needs a lot of vitamins and minerals and not only the one mentioned above (The body needs Vitamin A, B, C, D... minerals, fibers and more) so make sure to eat daily a lot of fruits, vegetables and cereals and to vary the diet.

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