The vegetarian diet is designed to maintain or attain optimal nutrition for persons who choose to follow a vegetarian life style.
The vegetarian diet may be used by any person who chooses to follow it for religious preferences, health concerns, environmental considerations, humanitarian issues, economic or political reasons.
Types of vegetarianism
Protein in the vegetarian diet
The selection of foods for a vegetarian diet must take into consideration daily needs for all nine (10 for children) essential amino acids (protein quality), as well as total protein quantity.
Amino acids are used for tissue growth; repair and maintenance in the body. They must be obtained from the foods you consume each day, as your body can not synthesize them.
Protein are differentiated into complete and incomplete proteins :
GENERAL DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A VEGETARIAN DIET
The following are guidelines to keep in mind when eating a vegetarian diet.
Variety in selection from food groups (legumes, whole grains, cereals, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables) is necessary.
Research now suggests that complementary proteins (legumes and grains, grains and nuts, or legumes and nuts) do not need to be consumed at the same meal. Intake of a variety of foods over the course of a day should provide adequate protein.
Vegan diets tend to be high in folate, which may mask deficiencies of vitamin B12.
Reduced levels of vitamin B12 may cause a severe form of anaemia; therefore, periodic evaluations (approx. every 6 months) of blood proteins, hematocrit and folate levels is recommended.
Supplementation of vitamin B-12 or vitamin B-12 fortified foods is suggested for vegetarians who avoid or limit animal foods.
Vitamin B-12 present in spirulina, algae, sea vegetables, tempeh and miso, is not in the form that the human body can use.
The vegetarian diet contains a lot of fiber and may require a great deal of food to meet the calorie requirements. To help meet this need, oils, margarines, and sweeteners may be included.
Supplementation of vitamin D or vitamin D fortified foods (some breakfast cereals and soy beverages are fortified with vitamin D) is suggested for vegetarians who avoid or limit milk and if sun exposure is limited.
Sun exposure to hands, arms, and face for 5-15 minutes a day is believed to be adequate to provide sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
A high intake of vitamin C will help increase iron absorption
If animal protein sources such as dairy foods and eggs are included in the diet, choose lower-fat versions of these foods.
Choose whole, unrefined foods often and try decreasing intake of highly sweetened, fatty, and heavily refined foods.
It is recommended that vegetarians include good sources of linolenic acid in their diet.
Vegetarians should strive to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and folate.
Well-planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation.
The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. It should not replaced professional advise and consultation. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions
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