What are the nutrients a human body needs and how a vegetarian diet fulfills the need.
A healthy vegetarian diet is mainly a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. And as such a vegetarian diet will contain less unhealthy fat and cholesterol, but is high in healthy fiber. A well-planned vegetarian diet can meet the nutritional needs of any individual even children, teenagers, older people, and pregnant or breast-feeding women.
There are four different groups of vegetarian depending on animals products consumed.
* Vegan No animal products
* Lacto Vegetarian Milk and Milk by-products.
* Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Eggs, Milk and Milk By-Products
* Semi-Vegetarian Will eat meat on occasion
All the major group of nutrition can be found in a vegetarian diet as listed below.
Protein Besides dairy and dairy by products like cheese and yogurt there are many meat substitute products available in today’s world to satisfy taste and the protein requirements of the human body. Made from soybean, wheat and nuts products like tofu dogs, soy burgers, nut loaves and textured vegetable protein are more than enough protein for the human body. These products also add variations to the vegetarian diet. Products can be found in grocery stores and health food markets and have less fat and calories than meat proteins.
Calcium – Low-fat calcium enriched dairy foods and dark green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, are good sources of calcium. Calcium enriched tofu, soy milk and fruit juices are other healthy choices.
Vitamin B-12 Found mostly in animal products which include milk, eggs and cheese. Other options are from some enriched cereals and fortified soy products. Lastly it is recommended to take a supplement containing this vitamin.
Iron A good source of iron are dried beans or peas and lentils along with enriched cereals and whole-grain products. Other options for iron are dark leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit. Eating foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits will help the body absorb these non-animal sources of iron.
Zinc – Whole grains, soy products, nuts and wheat germ are where the best zinc can be found.
Just as in any healthy diet it is essential to mix and match from all nutritional groups and enjoy a variety on a daily basis. A healthy vegetarian diet can and will fulfill a human body’s requirement for all the nutrients a body could ask for. It is the only humane choice each individual needs to consciously make.