Special considerations for vegetarian diets
Contributed by VeggieGirl
A vegetarian diet done correctly, can provide a good foundation for
short- and long-term health. Many of the diets recommended for medical
conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood
pressure advocate a diet high in plant-based foods.
Vegetarian diets come in a number of forms. Some, like a vegan diet,
only include plant foods, while others include various animal
proteins. The most common type is a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which
means the only forms of animal protein included are dairy products and
eggs. Because of the diversity within vegetarian eating, any nutrient
concerns would be dependent on the actual vegetarian diet consumed and
the specific needs of the person consuming it.
Some people believe that a vegetarian diet just means eliminating
meat. Often this results in inadequate intake of protein and other
nutrients that accompany protein-based foods. Adequate protein is
especially important during times of growth and development. Protein
needs are also higher for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and
for some athletes.
Examples of plant proteins include beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, soy
products, nuts, seeds, and nut butters/peanut butter. Each of these
proteins is slightly limited in some amino acids (the building blocks
of protein), but combining them with each other and grain foods over a
day or two will allow the body to get what it needs.
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Approved by andyba on June 30,2008 | 07:14:08