If you’ve eliminated dairy from your diet, get enough calcium—essential for strong bones—from dark-green vegetables, dried figs, almonds, and fortified soy products, or supplements. For best absorption, take calcium carbonate with food (calcium citrate can be taken any time).

Remember: Calcium requires magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin D to function properly.

Recommended dose: adults 1,000 mg daily, divided into two doses

Vitamin B12

This B vitamin, most commonly found in animal products, helps the body produce red blood cells and prevents anemia. Find it in enriched cereals, fortified soy products, and supplements.

Recommended dose: adults 2.4 mcg daily

Vitamin C

Eating vitamin C–rich foods, or supplementing with vitamin C, will help your body absorb plant-based iron (in beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables, dried fruit) and iron from supplements.

Recommended dose: adults at least 200 to 300 mg daily


Zinc helps support immunity, cell function, and normal growth and development, but bioavailability from plant-based sources (legumes, whole-grain pasta, wheat germ, fortified cereals, nuts, and tofu) can be low. Focus on protein-rich foods such as legumes and nuts (protein also helps with zinc absorption), and take zinc supplements if necessary.

Recommended dose: men, 11 mg daily; women, 8 mg daily