Vegetarian diet mainly includes grains, nuts, cereals, seeds, beans, vegetables and fruits. Hence, it is rich in fiber, folacin and vitamin C. Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy body. Beans, tofu, seeds are some good sources of proteins. Vegetables consist of phytochemicals. These prevent some chronic diseases. Green leafy vegetables are the rich source of antioxidants. Vegetables and fruits also provide natural sugars, beneficial enzymes and trace elements.
It contains low amount of fats, cholesterol and saturated fats. It minimizes the likelihood of weight gain, as a result. This, in turn, reduces the chances of developing the health problems caused by obesity. Vegetarian diet is also helpful for healthy weight loss. A vegetarian diet lowers the blood cholesterol levels and decreases the likelihood of various disorders such as blood pressure, stroke, heart diseases, diabetes, rheumatic arthritis, osteoporosis, gallstones, cancer, and kidney diseases. Digestive health is improved due to intake of high fiber diet. Vegetarianism protects you from certain food-borne diseases such as bird flu, mad cow disease, intestinal parasites, etc.
Although vegetarian diet provides all the essential nutrients, there are certain factors that we are able to get in more amounts from the meat or fish. Vegetarian diet is found to be low in proteins, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and calcium. Vitamin B12 is found in soy products, fortified cereals and animal products in abundant amount. Meat is seen as the major source of vitamin B12. Soymilk, milk and other dairy products are the rich sources of vitamin D. Meat, chicken, fish and poultry contain more quantities of iron and zinc. Milk, cheese and yogurt are splendid sources of calcium. These nutrients aren’t found in large numbers in the vegetarian diet. Meat is a rich source of proteins and contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Phosphorus present in the meat is easily absorbed than that present in legumes and cereals.
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Vegetarian diet isn’t recommended for bodybuilders, as they need a protein-rich diet. A diet lacking in sufficient carbohydrates and proteins can give rise to anemia. Bowel irregularities can be usually seen among the vegetarians. If your diet is entirely free from fats, then it is not good, because certain amounts of cholesterol and fat is necessary for the elaboration of the nervous system and normal body functioning.
Although, there are certain disadvantages of vegetarian diet, it definitely has a number of health benefits. If you properly plan your diet, you can overcome the challenge of nutrient deficiencies and improve your physical fitness and overall health. After all, healthy eating is a central to healthy living.