What are the benefits of a vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. However, some vegetarian diets may rely too heavily on processed foods with too many calories and too much sugar, fat, and salt.. These diets may not include enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nutrient-rich foods. A healthy vegetarian diet can help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes and its associated complications.
It dates back to choosing low-glycemic foods that keep blood sugar levels constant, such as whole grains, legumes, and nuts. In one study, vegetarians had half the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegetarians.. An older Swedish study suggests that a vegetarian, particularly vegan diet, can reduce asthma symptoms. Twenty-two out of 24 participants who followed a vegan diet for a year saw improvements, including a lower addiction to drugs.
The risks associated with a vegetarian diet include deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids. The foods you choose make the difference. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can find plenty of vitamin B-12 from sources such as dairy products and eggs. If you’re on a vegan diet, it may be harder to find them and you may need to look for fortified foods or supplements.
The dietary recommendation for B-12 is 2.4 micrograms for most healthy adults. Depending on age, children and adolescents need between 0.9 micrograms and 2.4 micrograms. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should aim for 2.6 to 2.8 micrograms. Fatty acids such as the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha linolenic acid (ALA) are essential nutrients that you should include in your diet.
They help combat certain inflammatory conditions, such as heart disease and immune problems, such as eczema. People often associate omega-3 with seafood, but ALA is found in vegetarian sources. While there has been discussion about converting ALA to DHA, recent research appears to confirm that ALA-derived DHA may be sufficient to meet brain needs.. The dietary recommendation for omega-3 fatty acids is 1.1 to 1.6 grams for most healthy adults.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women need between 1.3 and 1.4 grams per day. Children should consume between 0.5 and 1.6 grams, depending on their age. Learn more about foods high in vitamin B12 that are also suitable for vegetarians. There are plenty of fast food options that are low in carbohydrates..
Here are 12 fast foods you can eat on a low-carb diet. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy for people at all stages of life. People who follow a vegetarian and particularly vegan diet may be at risk of not getting enough vitamin D and vitamin K, both of which are needed for bone health. Consult a dietician to see if your diet contains the right amount of energy and nutrients to support your health and wellbeing and your baby’s optimal development, particularly if you’re exclusively breastfeeding or vegan..
If the energy intake (kilojoules or calories) is sufficient, vegetarian diets can generally meet or exceed their protein requirements. However, some vegan diets may be low in protein. People who follow a pescatarian or flexitarian diet often do so to reap the health benefits of a largely vegetarian diet without completely abstaining from meat.. A vegetarian diet can offer a variety of healthy, nutritious foods, but what the person eats depends on the type of diet they follow and their personal food choices. In particular, moving away from a diet full of animal products to a primarily plant-based diet can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 10 to 15 percent, while those following a strict vegan diet can lower their LDL cholesterol by up to 25 percent, according to a review of 27 studies published in the American Journal of Cardiology.
In addition to the health benefits, experts say that a plant-based diet is more sustainable as it is less harmful to the environment than a meat-based diet.