Vegetarian Diet: Curiosities and Advices

Following a vegetarian diet is more and more common, so it becomes necessary to clarify and inform you about some focal points about this type of power.

Vegetarian Diet Curiosities and Advices

A vegetarian diet can be adopted for different reasons. One of the main is the respect for animal life.

Other motivations are related to health, the environment, aesthetics and economy.

Typically, vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or seafood.

However, there is a large variation of vegetarian diets in relation to products that are or are not consumed.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VEGETARIAN DIET?

1. OVOLACTOVEGETARIANOS

Include dairy products and eggs but does not eat meat or fish.

2. OVOVEGETARIANOS

Consume eggs but avoid all other types of food of animal origin.

3. LACTOVEGETARIANOS

The drinking of milk and derivatives, but exclude meat, fish and eggs diet.

4. VEGETARIAN RESTRICTED (COMMONLY CALLED VEGAN)

Are excluded all products of animal origin, such as eggs, dairy and honey. Vegetarianism restricted is often confused with veganism.

In short, whatever the reason that leads one to adopt a vegetarian diet, you need a appropriate planning in order to ensure the obtaining of all necessary nutrients

PROS AND CONS OF VEGETARIAN DIET

1. PROS OF A VEGETARIAN DIET

A vegetarian diet is typically rich in carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants (such as vitamin C and E) and phytochemicals, in addition to presenting a low intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.

The American Dietetic Association says that “vegetarian diets are planned appropriately and are healthy, appropriate nutritionally and promote benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases”.

The same association also says that “are appropriate for all stages of life, including pregnancy, lactation, childhood and adolescence, noting also that vegetarians have lower levels of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancers of the prostate and of the colon”.

The general recommendations for a healthy diet also applies to those who follow a vegetarian diet.

Between the nutritional advantages of a vegetarian diet include lower levels of saturated fats, cholesterol and animal protein, as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folic acid and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E.

2. CONS OF A VEGETARIAN DIET

On the other hand, a vegetarian diet can have a shorter intake of vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, selenium, iodine, iron and zinc, which can in turn cause negative effects on the body.

However, and in spite of the above mentioned, there are some nutrients to which vegetarians should be careful for the possibility of not eating sufficient amounts of same.

OPTIONS VEGETABLES TO WORK AROUND THAT NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES IN VEGETARIAN DIET

1. PROTEIN SOURCES VEGETABLES

The protein is composed of amino acids. Some of the amino acids are essential because the body cannot synthesize them, so the only way to get them is through food.

The protein of animal origin has all the essential amino acids. The soy, quinoa and hemp are examples of sources of vegetable protein that contain a combination of essential amino acids.

The rest of the vegetable sources of protein provides some of these amino acids, with each plant source has, usually, a different combination of essential amino acids.

In this way, the important thing is to consume a mixture of different protein sources vegetables, so as to ensure the intake of all the essential amino acids.

 

  • Legumes (beans, lentils, and chickpeas)
  • Soybeans and products derived from soybeans, such as tofu, texturized soy or soy beverage
  • Seeds
  • Fruit acids and folders of the same (like peanut butter)
  • Grains such as wheat, rice and corn

For those who consume it

  • Eggs
  • Milk and milk products

If you follow a vegetarian diet and consumes dairy products, try not to use too much the cheese as the protein source, since there is a strong possibility of ending up with too much fat in your diet.

There are also micronutrients which need extra care.

2. CALCIUM

Calcium is necessary for bones and teeth maintain their strength and health in general. People following a diet is not vegan get most of the calcium through milk and dairy products (yogurt, cheese), but people following a vegan diet can obtain calcium through other sources.

3. VITAMIN D

Our body needs vitamin D to regulate the amount of calcium. This nutrient helps in maintaining the health of bones, teeth and muscles.

4. IRON

Iron is essential in red blood cell production. A vegan diet can be rich in iron, although the iron of vegetable origin is absorbed less easily than iron that comes from foods of animal origin.

5. VITAMIN B12

Our body needs vitamin B12 to maintain blood health and of a nervous system functional and healthy. Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in foods of plant origin.

Thus, plant sources of vitamin B12 are limited, and it may be necessary to resort to supplements.

6. POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS OMEGA-3

These fatty acids, found mainly in fatty fish, help in the maintenance of a healthy coronary heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

The scientific evidence in this field suggests that plant sources of omega-3 may not have the same benefits in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease as those that are present in fatty fish.

To know examples of good vegetable sources of the nutrients mentioned above, see this article about vegan diet.

IT MUST STILL HAVE ATTENTION…

1. ZINC

Phytates found in plant foods reduce zinc absorption, so it is important to consume good dietary sources of this micronutrient.

It is important to eat foods such as:

  • Fermented soy (tempeh and miso)
  • Beans (demolhe the dry beans and rinse well before cooking to enhance the absorption of zinc)
  • Whole grains
  • Fruit acids
  • Seeds
  • Some breakfast cereals fortified

2. SELENIUM

Meat, fish and nuts are good sources of selenium, so that if you do not consume neither meat nor fish, the nuts should be part of the diet.

3. IODINE

For those who follow a vegetarian diet restricted, it is important to include small amounts of iodised salt or sea vegetables in the diet so as to get some iodine.

It takes special care in certain life stages, such as during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in childhood.
IN SHORT…

A vegetarian diet varied, balanced and well-planned can meet the nutritional needs, and it may even present some health benefits.

However, the ideal will be to advise with a nutritionist or health professional to make sure that you are doing the selection and correct combination of nutrients and food for this to happen.