Nutritious and Delicious?

Veggie Health
Last week I was asked to highlight the health cons of a vegetarian diet in response to my post on the pros of veggie health. Although it is possible to get all the nutrients you need without having meat in your diet, it requires a lot of careful planning. Here are a few potential vegetarian deficiencies that may arise with an unbalanced diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids
– Fish are essential in providing omega-3 fatty acids.
– Omega-3 fatty acids slow-down the onset of atherosclerosis, reduce triglyceride levels, acts as an antiinflammatory agent and help with personality disorders.
-non-fish substitutes for omega-3 fatty acid include flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnuts, tofu, microalgae oil.

Vitamin B-12
-Vitamin B-12 is primarily found with the protein we consume in seafood, dairy, eggs, and meat.
-Some vitamin B-12 supplements have been found to inhibit metabolism, increase deficiency, and lead to anemia and nerve damage.
-Veggie vitamin B-12 substitutes include tempeh, miso, sea vegetables, soy milk, meat analogues or “meat” made from soybeans.
-These sources do not contain significant levels of vitamin B-12. Vegans may be at high risk for this deficiency.

Calcium
-The majority of the calcium we consume comes from dairy products.
-Calcium helps reduce blood pressure, builds strong bones, reduces chances for osteoporosis.
-Calcium substitutes for dairy include some tofu, roots, legumes, and soy milk.

Iron
– Iron is important for transporting oxygen throughout your body.
– Deficiency can cause fatigue and a decreased immune system.
– Animal foods provide higher levels of Iron absorption than do plants.
– Ways to compensate for Iron absorption deficiency include consuming vitamin C while consuming plants with iron, or avoid consuming calcium, whole grains, legumes, tea or coffee while consuming plants with iron.

There are vegetarian diets available for everyone including pregnant women, children, and the elderly. Each case of deficiency depends on what the individual is missing from their diet. With dedication and very careful planning, it is possible to lead a vegetarian diet without jeopardizing your health. However, the stress from having to plan out each meal may be just enough of a health problem within itself.

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4 thoughts on “Nutritious and Delicious?

  1. In my opinion, being a vegetarian can also be very healthy if we eat the food that contains the necessary nutrients that meat can provide us. I think fish is healthier than other kinds of meat, because it is often said that fish can actually help people to lose weight while providing people with the essential nutrients. As long as we consume the vegetables that can support our life, we can be healthy vegetarians!

  2. Hi Kelly, thanks for reading my comment and replying with this awesome post! Realizing that vegetarianism isn’t the end-all answer to health challenges is important, and it’s something that I constantly need to remind myself to do.
    Omega-3 fatty acids are something I’ve paid very little attention to in the past. Time to start eating more walnuts and tofu!

  3. While I am not a vegetarian, I believe that being a vegetarian isn’t that hard nowadays. With a plethora of all sorts of vitamins available, in a worst case scenario, nutrients can be obtained in this manner. Additionally the popularity and demand for vegetarian options has made finding meat alternatives very easy. from eating tofurky (tofu turkey) to tofu pups (my favorite absolutely delicious tofu hotdogs sold in whole foods) options are endless. the rise of restaurants such as vegan/ vegetarian only restaurants such as native foods is proof of this.
    getting all the right nutrients is difficult when both being a vegetarian and an omnivore. For example a serving of spinach has more protein than a cheeseburger, flax seed more omega than salmon, and tofu more calcium than milk. Therefore the plant aspect is of no issue. it is true that to achieve all these nutrients it is important to eat a balanced diet. yet, this balanced diet is necessary for omnivore s too. in the end everybody should be carefully watching their diet.

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