Vegetarian eating is healthier when it is done in a balanced way. Many benefits come from leading this way of nurture (and life, eventually). The general definition of a vegetarian could be this: a person eating no meat, dairy products and eggs, but instead consumes plant foods like vegetables, fruits, and grain. However, not all vegetarians are the same or eat the same.
There are three types of vegetarianism, as follow:
- Vegan - the strictest of them all, doesn't eat at all animal foods, dairy products and eggs.
- Lacto vegetarians - they consume dairy products.
- Ovolacto vegetarians - they consume eggs and dairy products.
Scientific have shown that being a vegetarian is nothing but a benefit for you. Vegetarians live longer; they have lower blood pressure, low cholesterol levels, lower incidents of obesity, heart diseases, and cancers of several types, stroke and diabetes. If we think about the benefits of being a vegetarian (less saturated fat, fewer calories, less sugar and more fibers), the conclusion of these statistics is no surprise.
Having a balanced vegetarian diet is very important for your health. In order to preserve your health, you have to plan your vegetarian diet according to your physical needs. Thus, vegetarians with a special situation, such as pregnant women, teenagers and children should have a vegetarian diet with someone giving them the proper nutritional guidance.
The greatest problem of a vegetarian is proteins (very important for the growth and development of the cells of the body). The unit cell of proteins is the amino acids, and these help at the proper development of the body cells and tissues. But plant food lacks some of the amino acids contained by meat and food plant is all a vegetarian can consume.
This is why vegetarians and vegans in particular, have to consume a variety of plant proteins in order to cope with this amino acid lack. Thus, soybeans, tofu and soya milk are among the most consumed because they are rich in high quality protein.
Lack or insufficient amount of Vitamin B12 in the body leads to anemia. However, the only reliable source of Vitamin B12 is meat. Since vegetarians don't consume meat, they have to find an adequate replacement rich in this vitamin. Thus, vegetarians are most likely to eat vitamin B12 enriched cereals, which most of the time are iron enriched as well.
But in order for the iron to be properly absorbed and fixed in the body, people (vegetarians or not) have to consume an adequate amount of vitamin C every day, be it in natural form (in fruits and vegetables) or by supplements. Great iron sources are spinach, raisins and pulses.
Calcium is very important for the proper development and resistance of the body; since vegetarians (particularly vegans) don't consume any kind of dairy produce (the most important source of calcium), they can always solve this problem by consuming plenty of sawi, spinach and kalian. Zinc can be got from whole grains, nuts and soybeans, since the vegetarian diet excludes all seafood.
Germinated seeds have a greater nutritional value than dry seeds, they have a greater nutritional value and digestibility and it is indicated to consume them in this form (during germination the vitamins, minerals and protein increase greatly and the carbohydrate content significantly lowers).