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Vegetarian diet: How to get the nutrients you need

By on April 7, 2012 in Dieting, Health with 0 Comments

What does being a vegetarian mean?

A vegetarian diet limits or excludes the consumption of animal meat or products from animals. But there is no such thing as a vegetarian diet. The dietary choices are personal and are based on health needs and beliefs. Consider the following types of vegetarians:

Flexitarians: vegetarians are not traditional (also called semi-vegetarians). Continue to eat beef, poultry, fish and animal products in small quantities. However, if your concerns relate only to health, flexitarian diet can help reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol you eat. It can also help increase the amount of grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Lacto-vegetarians eat no meat, poultry, fish or eggs, but still eat dairy products like milk and yogurt.

Ovo-Vegetarians avoid meat, poultry, fish and dairy products, but they eat eggs.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat no meat, poultry or fish. Accepted dairy and eggs.

Vegan : avoid all animal products, which not only include beef, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products but also products of animal origin, such as gelatin and honey.

Why people choose to become vegetarians?

Choosing a vegetarian diet is a big decision. For most people, involves changing a lifetime of eating behaviors.

Some people choose a vegetarian diet for health issues, such as limiting saturated fats and cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease. Others are driven by beliefs religious, which may prohibit eating certain foods. Some people choose a vegetarian diet because they worry about the ethics of using animals and hurt them, or how the food industry affects the environment.

Whatever the reasons, it takes time to learn new habits and food choices replace previous new vegetarian options.

What are the potential benefits of a vegetarian diet?

Although it may be challenging, a vegetarian diet can be worthwhile. A meatless diet can lead to a healthy weight and a lower risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and heart diseasePeople with type 2 diabetes may also improve response to insulin and control blood sugar in the blood.

What are the possible disadvantages of a vegetarian diet?

A successful vegetarian diet is much more than say no to chicken and hamburgers. Like non-vegetarians, vegetarians should aim to eat a balanced variety of foods and nutrition.

Although fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of many nutrients, not all are created equally. Some vitamins that are common in animal products are difficult to obtain from other foods. To avoid nutritional problems and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, diet is important to plan carefully. Be sure to get enough of these nutrients.

Iron: plays a key role in the production of red blood cells, which helps the heart pump oxygen to the body. Sources of iron are not of animal origin include beans, broccoli, raisins, wheat and tofu. Also, look for cereals fortified with iron. Because iron from plant foods not digested as easily as iron from meat, consider eating foods rich in vitamin C may help the body absorb iron.Among the good sources of vitamin C include oranges, guavas, strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower.

Calcium builds strong bones and helps prevent osteoporosis.For many people, dairy products like milk and yogurt are the main source of calcium. For a vegan diet, including good sources of calcium include soybeans, almonds or dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens and bok choy. Soy milk fortified juices and calcium supplements are also options.

Protein: an important element in almost all parts of the body, from muscles to the skin. For ovo-vegetarians, eggs are an excellent source of protein. Vegan options include nuts, tofu, soy milk, peanut butter, grains, legumes and seeds.Vegetarians have to consider the need to get enough of “complete proteins”. Proteins are made ​​of smaller parts called amino acids (which help with the metabolism). A complete protein is one that contains all the amino acids the body needs.Complete proteins can be obtained by eating certain combinations of vegetables such as rice and beans or corn and beans.

Vitamin D: like calcium, plays an important role in bone health.Products made ​​from cow’s milk, usually, are a primary source of vitamin D. Other good sources include soy milk fortified with vitamin D, milk, rice and cereals. Since the body produces its own vitamin D in response to sunlight, sun exposure experienced in daily life can also stimulate the levels of this nutrient.

Vitamin B12: helps produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. The lacto-ovo-vegetarians can get this important nutrient of eggs or dairy products. In the case of vegans, can be challenging to obtain sufficient amount of vitamin B12 as not naturally found in the products which are not of animal origin. If you are vegan, look for cereals, soy milk and vegetarian products fortified with vitamin B12. Also, consider taking a supplement to prevent deficiencies.

Zinc is vital for the immune system. Zinc is easily obtained from cheese, and can be found in beans, nuts and soy products.

Omega-3 fatty acids: help improve heart health and may reduce the risk of depression. Flaxseed meal and flaxseed oil are good sources. Add flour or linseed oil to recipes when cooking or take a flaxseed oil supplement.

As you get used to their vegetarian diet, take time to explore new varieties of healthy foods. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your family doctor. People with special health needs such as diabetes, should consult their doctor before making any dietary changes.

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