People decide to become vegetarian for different reasons
- Ethical or religious
- “It's just the way I have always eaten.”
Types of vegetarian diets include:
- Vegan: diet consists of only foods of plant origin.
- Lacto-vegetarian: diet consists of plant foods plus some or all dairy products.
- Lacto-ovovegetarian: diet consists of plant foods, dairy products, and eggs.
- Semi- or partial vegetarian: diet consists of plant foods and may include chicken or fish, dairy products, and eggs. It does not include red meat.
Benefits of a vegetarian diet
A vegetarian diet can lead to a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer.
The reduced risk is because vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, and higher in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. The key to a healthy vegetarian diet is to eat a wide variety of food.
Vegetarians can get all the nutrients they need from their diet, but it does take effort
It is possible to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from plant-based foods, but it will require a pro-active approach, especially for Vegans. Important nutrients to include in the diet: Protein, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B-12 and Zinc.
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