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Vegetarianism, Nutrition and Your Health

 
 
If you become a vegetarian, it is rarely to improve nutrition and your health, but more as a rebellion against the consumption of living animals. Many would consider a vegetarian diet to be unhealthy and some may label it unnatural.

The truth is a meat-free diet can be good for your nutrition and your health; as in all diets, care has to be taken to eat the right foods to enable the body to operate at its best. Nutrients that many of us consume from animal products can be found from other sources.
 

Salad and a Fork on a Red Plate

 
It is important to ensure a balanced, varied diet in the same way every person does.

There are certain nutrients you need to include to ensure the best for nutrition and your health.

Fish and eggs, for example, generally provide us with adequate supplies of Omega-3 fatty acids and these of course help the heart to function at its best. You may however have chosen a diet (and there are degrees of vegetarian diets) that excludes these food types.

To replace a source of required fatty acids, you will need to consider soy oil and beans, walnuts and seeds, such as flaxseeds. As with all the nutrients, if you find it difficult to eat the goodness you need, you might consider using a good quality vitamin supplement.

We all need calcium in our diets to ensure strong and healthy teeth and bones and this can be found in dairy products, otherwise dark green vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, will help, but also an increasing number of juices and cereals now include extra calcium.

Iron is an important part of your nutrition and your health no matter what your diet so it is essential to include sources in your food. Iron helps carry oxygen around in the blood. For vegetarians breakfast cereals, spinach, lentils, dried fruit and whole wheat breads can provide iron.

Dairy products such as milk and eggs can provide vitamin B12, as can soya milk and some breakfast cereals. A lack of this vitamin can affect nutrition and your health especially in the brain and nervous system: fatigue, depression and forgetfulness are early symptoms.

These are just some of the important nutrients our bodies need to function correctly. If you choose a vegetarian diet then you still need to ensure the maintenance of nutrition and your health from appropriate sources.

To find out more about nutrition for vegetarians, visit the Vegetarian Resource Group website.
 
 

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