So often when people say they are vegetarian they mean that they do not eat meat. But being a vegetarian is about more than just not eating meat. It is possible to be a vegetarian in the sense of not eating meat and eat a very unhealthy diet indeed.
A vegetarian diet may by high in cholesterol if it relies too much on cheese and eggs. It may be low in fibre if it is based on refined grain products like white bread, white pasta and white rice.
If it lacks fresh vegetables you diet will be deficient in vitamins and minerals.
You may vegetarian but you may not be eating a healthful vegetarian diet.
Going vegetarian is about more than just not eating meat. It means taking a positive decision to eat a wide range of foods that provide a balanced mixture of nutrients.
It is important to plan the change to a vegetarian diet. This may mean buying some new equipment for your kitchen. If you are used to eating convenience foods you may need to buy some basic items.
The next step is to plan your meals. Not all vegetarian meals rely on cheese, eggs and milk for protein. These are useful ingredients in a vegetarian diet but not by any means essential. It is perfectly possible to get enough protein by combining grains with pulse such as peas, beans and lentils.
A bowl of lentil soup with a slice of bread provides all the essential amino you need. Chili beans and rice combine in the same way to create what is called a complete protein.
A diet based on pulses and whole grains has the immense of advantage of providing you with enough fibre. This is important to maintain colon health.
Cancer of the colon is most common among people who eat a diet based on over-refined processed foods. Fibre is one of the key ingredients in a healthful vegetarian diet.
Switching to a high fibre diet takes a little time. Your body needs to adjust. So take things slowly at first.
A healthful vegetarian diet based on whole grains, pulses, nuts, fruits, and vegetables will also be good for your heart as it is low in fat. The fats you use in vegetarian cooking should be vegetable fats and oils such as olive oil, coconut oil or groundnut oil.
There is no reason to exclude butter from a vegetarian diet especially if most of the fat you are consuming is of vegetable origin.
One of the great things about a healthful vegetarian diet is that it helps to maintain you weight at the right level.
You will still pile on the pounds if you binge on ice cream but a really healthful vegetarian diet leaves you feeling satisfied so that you are less likely to overindulge in sweet things.
Three Health Benefits Of A Vegetarian Diet
A vegetarian diet offers a number of health advantages when compared to the typical diet that is eaten by the majority of people in the rich industrial countries. The healthy character of a vegetarian diet derives from the fact that it is rich in fruit and vegetables, contains large amounts of fibre and is low in animal fat.
In recent years the problems of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, the degenerative diseases of old age and cancers have been on the increase.
Provided it is well planned, a vegetarian diet addresses all the modern health problems.
It is possible to become obese on a vegetarian diet, but an overweight vegetarian is a rarity.
A vegetarian diet is likely to include many slow release carbohydrates, such as brown rice, whole meal bread and root vegetables, that raise the body's blood sugar level slowly.
This has major implications for both obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Much of the fat in a vegetarian diet is derived from nuts and seeds which contain essential fatty acids known as omega 3, 6 and 9.
These essential fatty acids do not raise cholesterol levels and so benefit the heart. They play a vital role in the brain and help to maintain the suppleness of joints, as well as ensuring good skin and hair.
Soya products make up an important component of a vegetarian diet. Studies show that soya actively reduced the body's cholesterol levels and so contributes to heart health.
One of the key health advantages of a vegetarian diet is its high fibre content.
Fruit, vegetables and whole grains all contain fibre. Fibre is essential to maintain the health of the colon and bowels.
Studies have shown that a high fibre diet is linked to a low incidence of pre-cancerous growths in the colon.
The fruit and vegetables that a vegetarian consumes contain important anti-oxidants which combat the free radicals that can cause cancer.
Eating a healthful vegetarian diet is important for the health and as we've seen in this article, It can tackle quite a handful of diseases including cancer.
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