You may be thinking that a vegetarian diet and staying healthy go hand in hand; this isn’t always the case. Depending on to what degree of vegetarian diet you restrict yourself to, you could be missing vital vitamins and minerals from your diet. Let’s start with a look at the different degrees of vegetarian diets there are and then how to stay healthy on a vegetarian diet.

Semi-vegetarians: These people eat dairy, eggs, poultry and fish but no red meat.
Pesco-vegetarians eat dairy, eggs, and fish but no other meat.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat dairy products and eggs, but no other animal products.
Lacto-vegetarians enjoy dairy foods, but no other animal products.
Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, but no other animal foods.
Vegans are by far the most extreme vegetarians. They do not eat any dairy, eggs, or any other animal products.
Because Vegans have the most restrictive diet, they are at the greatest risk for vitamin and mineral insufficiencies in their diet. The greatest risk that vegans suffer from is a deficiency of vitamin B-12. This is potentially a very dangerous vitamin deficiency because it can cause severe mental problems and even permanent nerve damage.
Vitamin B-12 intake needs go up during pregnancy and during breast-feeding; therefore a vegetarian with a vitamin B-12 deficiency before these times will suffer even more during these stressful physical times in their life.

Vegetarians who consume dairy products are mostly safe from vitamin D deficiencies, but those who do not eat any dairy products can suffer from conditions such as rickets in children, to osteoporosis in adults.

Iron is another concern for vegetarians. A deficiency in iron can result in anemia. Given that vegetarians tend to eat a high content of fiber, soy, and bran in their diets, they may think they are getting enough iron in their regimen, but with a high fiber diet, the iron has a difficult time being absorbed into the blood stream.

OK, I’m not trying to paint a bleak picture of a vegetarian lifestyle, just to point out the drawbacks. There are things that all vegetarians of any degree can take to keep themselves healthy.

How to stay healthy on a vegetarian diet means taking certain measures to ensure your good health. Here are a few examples of keeping a healthy vegetarian lifestyle:

*Take a multi-vitamin daily to ensure that the vitamins and minerals that are difficult to get from plants sources are getting into your system in another way.

*To get enough calcium in your diet, eat calcium rich foods like nuts, seeds, broccoli, legumes, and bok choy.

*To ensure you are getting enough vitamin B-12, eat B-12 fortified soy products and cereals, along with B-12 supplements.

*To boost your Vitamin D intake, spend time in the sun each day! The sun is the best source of natural vitamin D. You can also add vitamin D fortified margarine to your diet.

*To ensure you are getting enough iron in your diet, eat these foods: iron fortified breads and cereals, legumes such as tofu, green leafy vegetables, and dried fruits. If you are trying to boost your iron intake, make sure to include vitamin C in your diet to increase the ability of your body to absorb the iron rich foods you are eating.

How to stay healthy on a vegetarian diet doesn’t have to be difficult, but you have to do your homework. If you have any questions about how to boost your health, don’t be shy to consult your doctor to make sure you are eating the right foods to stay healthy.

By yanam49

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