*THE PRONS AND CONS OF A VEGETARIAN DIET.*
Prons and cons tells us the advantages and disadvantages of anything.
Some persons prefer vegetarian diets because they feel they may become healthier or to avoid hormones used in animal foods or religion or animal rights or environmental concerns.
When considering a vegetarian diet, think about what type of vegetarian you will do, once you have decided which foods you will avoid, you will also want to come up with a plan to ensure that you are able to get all the nutrients your body needs.
*TYPES OF VEGETARIAN DIET*
Vegetarian diet does not include meat, poultry or fish.
**Lacto-ovo vegetarians* eat both eggs and diary products.
**Lacto vegetarians* eat diary products but not eggs.
**Ovo vegetarians* eat eggs but not diary products
Vegans don't eat meat, poultry or fish, they don't also consume diary products, eggs or other animal products, like gelatin or honey.
Doesn't eat meat, but does eat some animal foods.
**Pescatarians* eat fish but avoid all other meat.
**Pollo-vegetarians* eat poultry but avoid all other meat and fish.
*Flexitarian-* These people's diet eat mostly plants based foods but may occasionally include meat, diary, eggs, poultry and fish in small amounts.
*HEALTH BENEFITS OF A VEGETARIAN DIET**
(1) Good for heart health.
* High-fibre whole grains .
* Legumes .
* Vegetables and fruits.
* Low glycaemic foods.
These foods help keep blood sugar level stable and may reduce cholesterol and overall risk of heart attack.
(2) Reduces cancer risk.
* Female-specific cancers.
* Cancers of the GlT .
* Reduces risk of colorectal cancers.
(3) Prevents type 2 diabetes.
It prevents and treats type 2 diabetes and associated complications.
Whole grains, legumes and nuts will help.
(4) Lowers blood pressure.
Plant food tend to lower fat, sodium and cholesterol . Fruits and vegetables has good concentrations of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure.
(5) Decrease asthma symptoms.
Certain animal foods may produce an allergy or inflammation response.
(6) Promotes bone health.
The rate of osteoporosis is lowered. Animal products may actually force calcium out of the body creating bone loss and osteoporosis.
*IS VEGETARIAN DIET SAFE?*
This results in deficiency of vit B12 and Omega 3 fatty acids. vit D, folic acid and iron.
Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children can get the nutrients they need from a vegetarian diet.
Vegans may require additional supplements.
*HOW TO BECOME A VEGETARIAN*
- Set a date
Mark a date on your calendar.
- It may be a gradual switch over.
- You may gradually start practicing certain days without animal protein, then totally stop animal protein. e.g meatless mondays.
*RESIST TEMPTATION* .
- Look for tasty alternatives.
meatless alternative is preferred.
- Focus on new vegetarian foods ( new vegetables, preparation methods and meat alternatives).
- Swap ingredients
- Become a label reading experts
Read your labels carefully and familiarise yourself with common hidden sources of animal products. eg
1. Gelatin is derived from animal collagen
2. Honey comes from bees.
3. Casein is a protein derived from cow or sheep milk
4. Whey is a byproduct of making cheese.
5. L-cysteine comes from feathers or human hair.
Meat free protein sources helps in healthy weight and muscle, connective tissue. It creates antibodies and enzymes.
Daily recommendation for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kg (0.36 ounces per pound) of body weight for most healthy adults. You may need more or less protein depending on your age and activity level.
Vit B12 helps the body produce red blood cells and prevent anaemia.
Fortified foods or supplements can be used by vegans.
Dietary recommendation for B12 is 2.4micro grams for adults. Children and teens need between 0.9 micro grams and 2.4 micrograms, depending on age. Pregnant or nursing women aims at 2.6 - 2.8 micrograms.
*HOW TO GET OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS*
Omega -3 helps in controlling certain inflammatory conditions such as heart diseases and immune issues such as eczema.
E.g Flaxseed oil, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, hulled hemp seeds, rapeseed oil, walnuts.
The dietary recommendation is 1.1 to 1.6grams for most healthy adults. Pregnant and breast feeding women needs 1.3 and 1.4 grams each day. Children should consume between 0.5 and 1.6 grams depending on age.
**Avoid meat* when eating outside your home. Check the menus properly, ask your server. It is advicable to make your meals while on a trip. Tell your host beforehand your vegetarian status for a dinner party, or bring your dish along.
*THE TAKE AWAY* - If you want more fruits and vegetables and improve your health, a vegetarian diet is worth trying. You may discuss your challenges with a doctor and a Dietician.
- 11 Aou, 2022
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