How is the vegetarian diet healthy?

June 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Health & Wellness, Preventive Medicine

Chinese soy milk soup with wonton.
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Drastic diets, which prohibit consumption of meat or any other product of animal nature, existed in various forms throughout human history, whether it was based on religious grounds, or, more recently, based on concepts of moral or environmental.

Presently many people opt for vegetarian diet convinced that make the ideal choice to keep their health. But is it true?

What are the effects of a vegetarian diet on the body?

Vegetarian diet has generally beneficial effects on the body. Firstly lower body digestion, also fibers are essential to detoxify the body, it diminishes the risk of conditions such as: high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and colon cancer. Also, fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of antioxidants and helpful in fighting cancer, cardiovascular disease or premature aging. But must keep in mind that the human diet, especially belonging to the European area, is omnivorous and the digestive system, is suitable for such a system.

Therefore, if we really want to give up eating meat, would be preferable to adopt a lacto-ovo-vegetarians, who provide animal protein from eggs, milk and dairy derivatives. Excessive consumption of fiber from vegetables can not be completely metabolized by the body and can often cause irritation to the digestive system,

Also, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of refined sugars (in particular pastry, confectionery), replacing them with a moderate consumption of honey (linden, acacia), which brings vitamins and minerals. Excessive consumption of flour should be avoided.

Can we cover all the body’s nutritional needs through a vegetarian diet?

Vegetable protein content (peas, chickpeas, beans, green vegetables, fruit and vegetable oils, cereals, vegetables and dried fruits, bread, flour , pasta, rice, semolina) are more poor or do not contain all essential amino acids, particularly important for the functioning of the body.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe anemia and nervous system and circulatory diseases, in this case is indicated the consumption of cereals with added vitamins. Calcium Deficiency can be improved by consuming soy milk and tofu. Vitamin D deficiency (vitamin present in fish oil), especially in children, may lead to the appearance of rickets, with growth disorders and bone diseases.

Are food supplements recommended?

Administration of food supplements is recommended only in case of deficiencies. We can not replace the absence of natural vitamins and minerals adding products containing different supplements, often synthetic or in inadequate amounts. There is also competition regarding the absorption of some elements over others, for example, an excess of calcium inhibit the absorption of magnesium and iron.

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