Posted by: 4pack | April 21, 2009

“Ideal Diet”: Vegetables And A “Vegetarian Diet” Are At The Foundation Of Successful Diets

colorful-vegetablesRecognize the need for these important constituents
A healthy vegetarian diet includes a lot of fruits and vegetables. That seems like an obvious statement, but merely avoiding meat or meat products is not a vegetarian diet if their replacement is with starch laden ‘white’ flour foods or an over abundance of refined and processed snacks. It is important to like vegetables if you’re to become a successful vegetarian.

Another important consideration, when eliminating meat from your diet, is inclusion of protein, calcium, vitamin B – particularly B12 – iron and the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K from alternate food sources. Without careful planning, many vegetarians can become deficient in one or more of these nutrients, ultimately suffering some form of malnutrition and putting themselves at increased risk of disease.

Important nutrients and where to find them
– found in many forms, perform a variety of functions; they are for building healthy tissues, fighting infections and breaking down the food we eat; they can be found in soy, tofu, eggs, milk and other dairy products as well as fish, beans, legumes and nuts: peanuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts.

Calcium – the primary building block of bones and teeth, is also critical for healthy heart function and maintaining cell structure. Calcium is found in dairy products e.g. milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, cottage cheese but also in sardines, canned salmon with bones and supplemental tablets.

Vitamin B12 – supports normal brain and nervous system function; moderate to severe B12 deficiencies can result in dementia. This B vitamin is also crucial to normal development and maturation of red blood cells; it is so critical that the body carefully re-cycles vitamin B. But because humans cannot make vitamin B, if it is not obtained through dietary sources; including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products or supplements, eventually deficiencies will occur.

Iron – largely found inside red blood cells, is for transport and storage of oxygen to other organs and tissues of the body. Low iron stores deplete energy levels and weaken immune function. Aside from red meat, iron can be found in beans, dried fruit, spinach and many cereals are fortified with iron.

Vitamin A – also called retinol is useful for bone development and good vision. Vitamin A is most abundant in orange pigmented fruits and vegetables: carrots, cantaloupes and sweet potatoes; and occurs naturally in spinach, whole eggs, and milk.

Vitamin D – is will strengthen bones, promote muscle development and helps the body’s immune system fight disease. Nature provides vitamin D in fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) and egg yolks as well as fortified foods including milk, margarine, orange juice and some cereals.

Vitamin E – is an antioxidant that plays an important role in removing toxins, in the form of free radicals, from the body, slowing deterioration associated with aging, and assists in proper blood clotting and wound healing. Good sources of vitamin E are oils (canola, sunflower, soybean and corn), nuts (almonds), wheat germ, tomato paste and avocados.

Vitamin K – an essential component for blood clotting and bone mineralization – is common in cooked broccoli and kale, raw leaf lettuce and spinach and soybean oil.


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