Questions answered about Vitamin D
Vitamin D, we've all heard of that. But is Vitamin D as good as one claims? Does not Vitamin D just sit in the sun? Can you just swallow extra Vitamin D and what are the differences in Vitamin D? The health coun…Read more...
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Is a Vegetarian Diet Healthy or Unhealthy?
A healthy vegetarian diet should include a plethora of vegetables and fruits.
A vegetarian diet won't stop you from making unhealthy food choices. Even when you forgo meat products, foods such as french fries and ice cream are still technically vegetarian. Without proper research into vegetarianism, you may end up with nutrient deficiencies. However, by selecting the right foods to replace the nutrients you would get from poultry, meat and seafood, you can improve your health and well-being with a vegetarian diet.
A vegetarian diet has been linked to lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of heart disease and a longer life span, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This could be due to a vegetarian diet being generally lower in saturated fats and having fewer calories than nonvegetarian meals. Vegetarians tend to consume more fiber, vitamin C and potassium. However, vegetarians also tend to be more health-conscious than others, which means other lifestyle factors, such as exercise, may contribute to improvements in health.
Vegetarians are at risk of iron and vitamin B-12 deficiencies, as most sources are found in meat, seafood and poultry. An evidence-based review published in a 2013 issue of “Nutrition Reviews” determined that vegetarians were at risk of a vitamin B-12 deficiency regardless of the type of vegetarian-style eating, age or demographic. With a B-12 deficiency, also known as pernicious anemia, the main symptom is fatigue. It can lead to permanent nerve damage if preventive measures such as vitamin B-12 supplements are not taken. Ovo-lacto vegetarians can also get vitamin B-12 and iron from eggs and dairy products, and all vegetarians can get these nutrients from fortified cereals and soy products. Iron can come from plant sources such as fortified foods, chickpeas and spinach.
The Bottom Line
Whether your vegetarian diet is healthy depends on what you choose to eat. Focus on getting protein from nuts, legumes, beans, whole grains and tofu. Add milk or other dairy products to your daily diet, as well as a plethora of starchy foods, fruits and vegetables in each meal to get fiber, minerals and vitamins. A well-balanced diet is achievable with vegetarianism. Join a support group or vegetarian society and read vegetarian cookbooks so you don’t run out of ideas for healthy meals to prepare.