Published at Sunday, July 21st 2019, 12:32:32 PM. Health News. By St1ffM.
Vegetarian diets continue to increase in popularity. Reasons for following a vegetarian diet are varied but include health benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Yet some vegetarians rely too heavily on processed foods, which can be high in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium. And they may not eat enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods, thus missing out on the nutrients they provide.
However, with a little planning, a vegetarian diet can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.Types of vegetarian diets
When people think about a vegetarian diet, they typically think about a diet that doesn't include meat, poultry or fish. But vegetarian diets vary in what foods they include and exclude:
Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter, are included. Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products, but allow eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs. Pescatarian diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish. Vegan diets exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products — and foods that contain these products.
Some people follow a semi-vegetarian diet — also called a flexitarian diet — which is primarily a plant-based diet but includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and fish on occasion or in small quantities.
Planning a healthy vegetarian diet
Keep in mind that the more restrictive your diet is, the more challenging it can be to get all the nutrients you need. A vegan diet, for example, eliminates natural food sources of vitamin B-12, as well as milk products, which are good sources of calcium.
To be sure that your diet includes everything your body needs, pay special attention to the following nutrients:
Calcium and vitamin D
Calcium helps build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Milk and dairy foods are highest in calcium. However, dark green vegetables, such as turnip and collard greens, kale, and broccoli, are good plant sources when eaten in sufficient quantities. Calcium-enriched and fortified products, including juices, cereals, soy milk, soy yogurt, and tofu, are other options.