How To Make The Most Of A Vegetarian Diet

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Many people are turning to a vegetarian diet as they become aware of the potential health benefits from a diet devoid of, or low in, animal products. Among the benefits of being vegetarian are reduced risk from some kinds of cancer, lower risk of becoming obese or developing type II diabetes, and less chance of heart disease and high blood pressure. Nowadays there are more vegetarian options available in restaurants and people have a better understanding of what being vegetarian means.

Not all vegetarian diets are the same; there are various types of vegetarianism. Some people will cut out all forms of animal products and this is called being vegan. If you are a lactovegetarian, then you will eat dairy foods, but not meat. Ovovegetarians will also eat eggs, but do not eat meat, and semi-vegetarians (or flexitarians) do not eat red meat, but may eat fish or chicken.

Some vegetarian diets can be low in some essential vitamins, minerals or nutrients so if considering becoming vegetarian, you must ensure you get all the nutrition you need. It is a good idea to have a nutritional plan if you are vegetarian to ensure you get enough iron and protein in your diet. A vegetarian diet may also be low in vitamin B12, Vitamin D, calcium and zinc.

Alternative sources of protein for vegetarians include legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas and beans or nuts and vegetable seeds. Whole grain foods can also be a source of protein for vegetarians. To ensure you are getting enough iron in your system you should consume plenty of spinach, dried fruits and you can add Brewer's Yeast to foods. You may also be able to find iron-enriched cereals that will boost your iron levels.

Wheat germ and nuts are terrific for providing zinc in your diet. Zinc is important for the immune system and also for healthy reproduction in the male. Vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal products, so if you are following a vegetarian diet it is advisable to take a vitamin B supplement that contains B12.

Calcium is responsible for building strong bones and healthy teeth. You may be putting yourself at risk of osteoporosis if your diet lacks calcium and vitamin D. To make sure you are getting enough calcium in your diet you should eat calcium-enriched soy products and lots of green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale.

Vitamin D can be obtained from cereals that are enriched with the vitamin and also sunlight. Most sources of vitamin D from food are found in fish products or milk. Alternatively you can easily find calcium plus vitamin D supplements at the pharmacy.

With proper planning you can ensure that your vegetarian diet is high in all essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients required to maintain a healthy body. If you cover all your bases, you will also enjoy added health benefits that vegetarian weight loss diet can bring to an individual. Some studies have shown that vegetarians are likely to live longer thanks to reduced risk of lifestyle diseases brought on in diets with high meat consumption and saturated fat.

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