Vegetarians don’t eat fish, meat or poultry. A vegetarian may be composed of fruits, vegetables and fortified whole grains. When you are a vegetarian, you will need to know about some nutritional facts so that you can stay healthy with your diet.
A lot of studies have proven the direct relationship between reduced consumption of meat and increased health. Among vegetarians, there is a decreased risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, coronary heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. Because of this, it is likely for longevity to increase.
For many years, the public always had the misconception that those who are into a vegetarian diet lack protein. But, as people became educated about the benefits of a vegetarian diet, such thought is slowly changed. A vegetarian diet, as already learned by many provides enough protein as long as the dieter does not limit himself to a few foods.
Less Or Just Enough Protein
Protein, in most non-vegetarians, is obtained from eating fish, poultry and meat. This nutrient is essential in building body cells. It is contained in animal products which also come with amino acids. Protein found in vegetables is not complete, low or missing amino acids. In order to obtain the right amount of protein, vegetarians can consume foods that contain the nutrient. For instance, they can eat whole wheat bread with peanut butter to have a good amount of protein. Complete proteins can also be obtained by eating rice and beans or corn tortillas as well as beans. Vegetarians who are not vegans may also add dairy products like cheese and milk to their diet.
Vitamin B and Calcium
Calcium and Vitamin B-12 are nutrients that cannot be produced by the body on its own. These nutrients can be obtained from animal products. Low calcium levels can lead to osteoporosis and vitamin B is necessary for nerve and blood health. B-12 is not obtainable from plants; however, there are a lot of fortified grain products that contain this nutrient. It is important for vegetarians to find fortified cereals and breads or consume vitamin supplements. Calcium and vitamin B-12 can be obtained from milk, dairy products and spinach. Vegetarians can also get them from nutritional yeast, veggie burgers, soymilk and breakfast cereals.
Iron In Vegetarians
Iron carries oxygen in the blood. Vegetarians can get iron from iron-fortified breakfast cereals, kidney beans, spinach, lentils, black-eyed peas, whole wheat bread, molasses and peas. The absorption of iron is increased by consuming foods that have vitamin C together with foods that have iron. Many studies revealed that vegetarians have lower incidence of iron deficiency than non-vegetarians.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are essential for improving one’s health. These fatty acids include linolenic acid and linoleic acid which can be obtained from vegetarian sources.
- Linoleic Acid- This is an omega-6 fatty acid that is a necessary part of cell membranes. This can be acquired from plant-based foods like sunflower oil, safflower, Brazil nuts, sesame oil and pine nuts.
- Alpha-Linolenic Acid- This is an omega-3 polyunsaturated fat that can be obtained from vegetarian sources like flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts. This acid can be converted by the body into DHA, a chain of omega-3 fatty acids that is needed by the body for the nervous system and for good vision. Higher consumption of linolenic acid is likely to minimize the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. But as a vegetarian’s body converts just a little amount of DHA, he should consume a fish oil supplement so that he can have more omega-3 fatty acids.
As vegetarians can still get enough amounts of nutrients from the kinds of foods that they consume, their diet is considered healthy. It is just important for a vegetarian to expand his vegetarian diet and not to limit it to a specific plant-based group of foods.
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