The vegetarian diet is followed by many as part of their culture or choice. Some people look into the vegetarian diet plan to lead a healthier lifestyle and to promote weight loss. The vegetarian diet is a healthy lifestyle which is low in cholesterol, total and saturated fat. It may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Vegetarian diet by definition does not have any meat, poultry or fish. Some vegetarians prefer to eat eggs and milk products. True vegans only eat plan food and do not eat anything derived from animals including milk, eggs and honey. If you are considering vegetarianism, learn more about nutritious vegetarian foods.
Meat proteins are the superior quality proteins when compared to vegetarian sources. However, it is possible to get all the essential amino acids by eating a variety of plant based foods. Legumes and grains are good sources. You can choose soy over meat as it is a complete protein. Soy is the primary ingredient for most meatless nuggets, sausages and burgers. Combine different plant based sources to meet your protein needs. For example, have beans and rice.
One way to easily transition into the vegetarian lifestyle is to create a meatless version of your favorite recipe.
Calcium and Vitamin D
If you have milk, cheese or yogurt in your diet, you are safe with regards to calcium and vitamin D. But if you choose to become a vegan, you will have supplement your diet with alternate sources of calcium. Fortified soy milk, orange juice, seeds, nuts and green vegetables are good sources of calcium. The body can make vitamin D that is requires by exposure to sunlight. If that is not possible or you do not want to do it, consider vitamin supplementation.
Zinc is found in many vegetarian foods, but it is not as readily absorbed as the meat based zinc. Good sources of zinc are milk, cheese, whole grain breads, nuts, soy foods and legumes. Eating plenty of zinc rich foods can help with more absorption of zinc into the body.
Although, red meat tops the list of good sources of iron, it is plentiful in leafy green vegetables, cooked dry beans and fortified cereals and grains. Eating iron rich foods regularly and in combination with vitamin C, which improves the absorption of iron.
Omega-3 fatty acids
The best of source of Omega-3 fatty acids is fatty fish and eggs. If you do not consume either of those, you can get your Omega-3 fix from flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and soybean oil.
Vitamin B 12
Vitamin B12 is found only in meat products or fortified foods. Therefore, if you are a vegan you must eat vitamin B12 fortified foods or take Vitamin B12 supplements. Lack of Vitamin B12 can cause muscle weakness and tiredness.
Being a vegetarian has scores of health benefits and it is even safe for kids. You don’t even have to be a full time vegetarian to start out. You can go two to three days without meat to enhance your health. A vegetarian diet is high in antioxidants and fiber. It can help you with you weight loss goals as long as you pay attention to the portion sizes.