Most people consider a vegetarian diet as one of the more healthier options when considering how and what we eat. However a vegetarian diet can be just as unhealthy as other diets if certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals are not included in high enough concentrations or not included at all. The following are some easy tips for people choosing the vegetarian diet to ensure that they are getting all the essential elements that the body needs to function and remain healthy.
Vegetarians and especially vegans are sometimes deficient in calcium as foods that contain high quantities of calcium such as dairy products are not included in their diets. Some people choose to take supplements to remedy this problem and there is also to option of including vegetarian friendly foods to increase calcium intake. Some of these vegetarian foods that are high in calcium include green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, legumes such as soybeans and also calcium enriched products such as some orange juices.
Another area that vegetarians and vegans can sometimes be deficient is there intake of iron. Iron deficiency which is referred to anaemia is common in many people’s diets however it is more common with people who are vegetarian or vegan. This is generally because many people who choose to remove meat from their diet don’t replace this gap with alternative iron rich foods. For vegetarians it is good news that there are many iron rich vegetables that can be added to your diet to make up this deficiency. These vegetables include dried fruits such as dates and raisins, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, green vegetables, beans such as black and kidney and also lentils. To maximise the amount of iron absorbed by the body from these sources it is recommended that you eat iron rich foods along with calcium rich foods.
Making sure that your vegetarian diet is providing you with enough protein is also important for your health. Again meat is one of the highest sources of protein however there are vegetarian friendly foods that also contain high levels of protein. To increase the amount of protein in a vegetarian diet foods such as nuts, seeds, nut butters, some imitation meats, soy based drinks and tofu are all rich in protein.
As with any diet it is important to remember that eating a variety of foods is key to ensuring that you receive all the nutrients needed by your body and also stay healthy.