Q. I?m avegetarian. What nutrients might fall short in my diet?
A. Thatdepends on how restrictive a vegetarian diet you follow and the quality of whatyou eat. There’s good reason to go vegetarian. Studies link vegetarianism withlower rates of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease andsome cancers. Vegetarians also tend to be leaner. But all this is not automatic;you still need to be vigilant in making good food choices.
Vegetarian diets have the potential to be very healthful?richin complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, magnesium, folate,vitamin E and disease-preventing phytochemicals. But without some forethought,they can be surprisingly unhealthful?high in refined carbs, sugar,hydrogenated oils and saturated fats (from full-fat dairy) and low in iron,calcium, zinc, D and B12.
Generally, the more foods you exclude from your diet, themore mindful you need to be in meal planning. Semi-vegetarians who eat fish (pesco-vegetarians)or poultry (pollo-vegetarians) can get the same range of nutrients as red meateaters. Lacto-ovo vegetarians, who avoid animal flesh but eat dairy and eggs,typically meet protein, calcium and B12 needs, but may have some trouble gettingenough iron and zinc. Vegans, who shun all animal foods, are most at riskfor nutrient deficiencies, especially B12, which is found almost exclusively inanimal foods.
The most healthful vegetarian diet is one that includes avariety of whole grains, legumes, soy foods, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.Keep these tips in mind:
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