As a vegetarian myself I had to do a lot of research. My father had concerns when I first started because of the lack of certain nutritions and vitamins that are needed to stay healthy. Of course, there are different reasons people choose a vegetarian life style. Some people do it for ethical, personal or health reasons. I do not eat meat because I feel it is healthier. I have done my research and there are plenty of interesting facts. Vegetarian diets are said to be the most beneficial diets.
Doctor Michael T. Murray of Bastyr University says “numerous population-based studies have shown that vegetarians are nearly 50 percent less likely to die of cancer or heart disease than are non-vegetarians. The vegetarian diet has also been shown to reduce one’s chances of developing diabetes, osteoporosis, or high blood pressure or developing kidney stones or gallstones. We recognize the central and tremendous importance that plant foods play in an optimal human diet.”
The American Dietetic Association, the largest organization of nutrition professionals, has stated that vegetarian diets are “healthful and nutritionally adequate when appropriately planned”. So of course, this means just because you are not eating meat doesn’t mean you should start eating a bunch of candy, and junk food!
The American Dietetic Association says that vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and other health problems. Regular fruit and vegetable intake reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease because they are full of antioxidant nutrients that protect the heart and its arteries. It is also likely that you lose weight and have more energy. Vegetarian diets are higher in fiber and lower in fats, especially saturated fats. A study from Loma Linda University shows that vegetarians live seven years longer, and vegans fifteen years longer, than people who consume meat.
Vegans have to pay special attention to their vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and protein consumption. Often vitamin supplements are used in a vegetarian diet. To stay healthy on a diet like this you have to pay special attention to what you are eating. A decrease in protein can have a real impact on emotional and physical health. Protein bars/powders, whole grains, soy/rice milk, beans, nuts and cereals are excellent ways to get some of the nutritions that need more attention on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Different types of vegetarians:
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: plant foods, dairy products and eggs, but avoid flesh foods
Lacto-vegetarians: plant foods, dairy products, but avoid eggs and flesh foods
Ovo-vegetarians: eat plant foods and eggs, but avoid dairy products and flesh foods
Pesco-vegetarians: eat sea food, dairy products, avoid meat/beef
Pollo-vegetarians: eat chicken, dairy products, but do not eat other beef/lamb and pork
Vegans: eat plant foods only