With cardiovascular diseases and obesity rates soaring in the US and the industrialized world, man teenagers and adults are slowly turning to vegetarian or vegan diets as a major step towards achieving a healthy lifestyle. Unlike most of us who regularly munch on meat and dairy products, vegetarians don’t have to worry about high cholesterol levels or trans-fat filled food items. Vegetarians, however, need to ensure that they get the right amount of nutrition from their vegan diets, to maintain good health. With careful planning and consideration, a vegetarian diet can certainly be tasty and satisfying.
Dangers of poor nutrition for vegans and vegetarians
Most nutrition experts agree that with so many vegetarian diets, there is actually no established vegan diet, and so the choice will be all up to you. The problem with some vegetarians is that the more restricting their veggie diet becomes, the harder it will be for them to meet their body’s daily nutritional requirements. According to nutrition experts, the most commonly deficient nutrients among vegetarians include protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and zinc.
Soy protein can be a great protein source for vegetarians. To add more soy to your daily diet, you may prepare soy chicken patties, soy hamburgers or soy cold cuts. The richest sources of iron are animal products like eggs, liver and red meat. Vegetarians can actually get iron from dried beans, dark green vegetables like spinach, kale and dried fruit.
Three Major Vegetarian Diet Types
Vegetarian diets are generally divided into three major categories, and these are:
- Vegan Diets: This diet does not include fish, eggs, meat, poultry and dairy products.
- Lacto-Vegetarian Diets: A lacto-vegetarian diet does not include meat, fish, poultry and eggs. However, it includes dairy products like cheese, yoghurt, butter and milk.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet: This vegetarian diet does not include fish, poultry and meat, but includes eggs and dairy products like milk, cheese, butter and others.
While a vegetarian diet may not have any negative attributes, a vegetarian advocate should ensure that he or she is able to cover all nutritional requirements. It is therefore crucial for vegetarians to take vitamin and mineral supplements, which contain 100 per cent of the recommended daily allowance, to complement the vegetarian meal plan. True-blooded vegetarians should focus their sights on getting adequate proteins and essential minerals like vitamin B12, calcium and iron.
Regardless of whether you follow a vegetarian diet for ethical, cultural or religious reasons, or you simply want to live a healthy and well-rounded life, the key to having a successful vegetarian diet lies in how aware are you of your nutritional needs. Therefore, you need to plan a diet that meets them. For creating the appropriate vegetarian diet, talk to your registered dietitian or doctor.