There are several types of vegetarian diets, indicating that there are actually varying levels of vegetarianism. There are the complete vegetarians (“vegans”) or those who eat only vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes, nuts and grains. Some vegans even go to the extent of not wearing any leather or buying leather products. There are also lacto vegetarians. Although they refrain from eating all types of meats, these types of vegetarians eat cheese and other milk products.
A variation of the lacto-vegetarians is the lacto-ovo vegetarians. Aside from consuming milk products, they also consume eggs. Then there are also the semi-vegetarians, or people who complement their vegetable consumption with fish and chicken consumption.
Ironically, one major concern about the healthy vegetarian diet is if it’s healthy. Vegetarians since their diet contains less cholesterol and fat than the traditional diets, they’re found to be less prone to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer.
When carefully planned to contain the necessary quantities of essential nutrients, the vegetarian diet can be very nourishing. But a thoughtless vegetarian diet can actually be detrimental to one’s health, because it may not contain essential the right amount of nutrients. And then there are some nutrients that can only be found in meat products.
Concerns about nutrition are the reason why there are websites on vitamins dedicate a page the vegetarians and their nutritional areas of concern.
Although animal meat products are not a guarantee of obtaining the right amount of proteins, vegetarians need to make sure they get the right amount of soy – which contains an equal amount of protein as meat – in their diets. Also, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are very rich in amino acids. If they aren’t enough, you may want to consider taking in protein supplements.
Vegetarians actually have a higher risk of becoming iron deficient because the major sources of iron are liver, red meat and egg yolk. But iron can also be found in dried beans, spinach, dried fruits, and brewer’s east. Then of course there iron supplements for vegetarians.
This vitamin can only be obtained in minute traces in nutritional yeast, fortified cereals, and soy products, and they are naturally found in animal products. This is one major reason why vegetarians should take supplements for this nutrient.
This nutrient can be found in shellfish grains, legumes, and nuts. But then again vegetarians may need to supplement their diet for this nutrient. If you decide on taking zinc supplements, just make sure they contain less than 15 to 18 mg of zinc, because it can reduce the amount of HDL cholesterol, which is supposed to be very good for your body.
This vitamin promotes calcium absorption and thus is necessary to maintain strong bones. Vitamin D can only be found in trace amounts in dairy products, but it can be found in sizeable amounts in liver oil, mackerel, salmon, tuna, and liver and beef.