Just as people have different reasons to be vegetarians, there are different types of vegetarians. Some people are vegetarian for reasons of animal rights, some are “selective” or conscious eaters because of their health, and some are vegetarians for religious reasons.

Some of the different types of vegetarians are lacto vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, vegetarians fishing and vegans. None of these types of vegetarians eat meat or poultry; Vegetarians fishing are the only vegetarians who eat fish.

Lacto vegetarians are vegetarians who eat dairy products, however, they do not eat eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarians are like lacto vegetarians, but these include eggs in their diet for vegetarians. Vegetarians fishing eat everything that lacto-ovo vegetarians consume, but their diet adds fish.

Vegans differ from all other types of vegetarians since they eat only plant-based foods and do not consume animal products of any kind. The vegetarian diet is the strictest vegetarian diet. Vegans should carefully plan their diet to make sure they get all the nutrients they need each day. They tend to be prone to deficiencies in protein, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.

Vegans can develop a protein deficiency, because proteins of plant origin are incomplete proteins. Since the human body can not manufacture all the amino acids needed to build proteins, they depend on food to supply our bodies with complete proteins.

Animal protein sources are complete proteins, since they contain all the amino acids needed to build a protein line. However, using a concept called courtesy proteins from different plant foods can be combined to form complete proteins.

The common combinations of courtesy proteins are beans such as beans, some legumes. Rice and beans or a peanut butter sandwich can work very well as complete proteins.

Dairy products such as cheese, eggs, are complete proteins, so for most other types of vegetarians obtaining protein is not a problem. Vegans, on the other hand, should consume nuts, legumes and seeds in combination with whole grains and soy foods to form complete proteins.

Vegetarians can get calcium and vitamin D from milk, however, vegans can drink soy milk with calcium and vitamin D. Tofu, broccoli, nuts, legumes, seeds and some ready-to-eat cereals contain something of calcium. Orange juice fortified with calcium is also available as it is also possible to find some benefits of natural juices.

Although iron from animal sources is more easily absorbed by the body, vegetarians can obtain iron by combining a high-vitamin C food with an iron-rich food to help the body absorb iron better. Tofu and broccoli, whole wheat or toast, orange juice, spinach and tomatoes are some examples of good combinations.

Vitamin B12 is only found in animal proteins, so vegetarians need to eat cereals and vegetarian burgers that have B12. An adequate amount of zinc is found in dairy foods, so all different types of vegetarians, except vegans can get enough zinc from these foods.

Seeds, nuts, tofu, legumes, wheat germ and bran are common sources of zinc for vegans. However, some vegans take a multivitamin complex that includes zinc, since it is more difficult for the body to absorb non-animal sources of zinc. Care must be taken not to exceed 100% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDA) for zinc; excess zinc can be harmful to the body.

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