Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tips for Vegetarians

Some people decide to become vegetarians. There may be a personal philosophy against killing animals for food, religious convictions or a desire to eat a very healthy diet. There are different types of vegetarians. All avoid animal products, but some will eat dairy foods (Lacto-vegetarian), eggs (Ovo-vegetarian) and others will eat none of these (Vegan). Some vegetarians will eat fish (Pesco-vegetarian). Being a healthy vegetarian and getting all essential nutrients in the diet takes knowledge and effort. If done right, studies show that vegetarians are leaner, have a lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lower blood sugar.

Vitamin B12 is naturally only present in animal foods. Since it is added to fortified grains and cereal, vegetarians can still get B12 from food. Adequate iron is hard to come by for menstuating female vegetarians. Spinach and other greens do have some iron but it is not well absorbed. B vitamin and iron supplements may be taken to ensure good nutrition. Protein is the building block of most tissue, and getting all of the essential amino acids (what constitutes protein) from vegetables takes knowledge and a willingness to eat a variety of foods, especially beans, brown rice, nuts and greens.

As our global population continues to grow and our "carbon footprint" is measured, it is likely that more people will become vegetarians. This will be a good thing as long as a rich and diverse vegetarian diet is followed.

No comments: