Getting All The Right Nutrients With A Vegetarian Diet Plan
Becoming a vegetarian might instantly earn you the distinction of being a health buff, but there are a lot of things that must be considered when swearing off meat once and for all. To start off, meat is rich in nutrients like protein. Since a vegetarian diet plan will take out meat, fish, chicken and even dairy products in some instances, one has to pick out vegetables that are perfect substitutes for the excluded items.
A good vegetarian diet plan should follow the vegetarian diet pyramid which lists down different food groups and arranges them according to priority. According to that pyramid, fats should be consumed sparingly with a required dietary allowance of just two servings per day. Two servings of fruits per day should likewise be included in a vegan diet. Although fruits are a good source of fiber, they also contain high levels of sugar. For this reason, fruits should be eaten in moderation.
Vegetarians should consume four servings of vegetables per day, and five servings of legumes, nuts and protein-rich foods. Grains occupy the base of the pyramid with a required dietary allowance of six servings per day. Grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates which serve as a good source of energy.
A vegetarian diet plan should consider specific vitamins and minerals that are more commonly found in meats and dairy products. This is to ensure that the dieter still gets those vitamins and minerals from plant sources. For instance, calcium is often found in dairy products, and is essential for the growth and proper maintenance of bones and teeth. Calcium can be found in dark, leafy vegetables including collard greens and kale.
Iodine is necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. The deficiency of iodine leads to a condition known as goiter. Fortunately, reaching for iodine-enriched salt or iodized salt can effectively save vegans from goiter and iodine deficiency.
Iron is a huge component of red blood cells. Aside from meat, iron can be derived from dark, leafy vegetables as well as dried fruit. However, vegetarians should bear in mind that the body does not readily absorb iron from plant sources and should make the necessary corrections in their diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, and are required for the development of the brain and the protection of the heart from cardiovascular diseases. It is advised that vegetarians look for fortified products or take in supplements in order to have adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B12 is similar to omega-3 fatty acids in that it can only be derived from meat sources. Vegans should likewise take Vitamin B12 food supplements to prevent anemia and other complications brought about by Vitamin B12 deficiency.