For each of us, this concept has its own meaning. Some adhere to a vegetarian diet based on ethical and moral views, others – for health reasons, some in this way seek to maintain a figure or simply follow a fashionable trend.
Even experts do not provide an unambiguous interpretation. However, it is quite true that vegetarianism is a dietary system that excludes or limits the intake of animal foods. This lifestyle must be treated with caution, responsibly, and also know and follow the basic rules so that the vegetarian diet really serves for the good of health, and does not destroy it.
There are three main types of vegetarianism:
- veganism – the strictest vegetarian diet, in which all types of meat are excluded: animals, fish, seafood; even eggs, milk and other dairy foods are not used, and in most cases honey; such vegetarians are also called vegans or vegans.
- lactovegetarianism – vegetarianism, the diet of which also includes milk, as well as dairy foods;
- lacto-vegetarianism – vegetarianism, which allows, in addition to plant foods, also dairy and eggs of poultry.
Benefits of Vegetarianism
Lacto-vegetarianism and lacto-ovegetarianism do not contradict the basic principles of a rational healthy diet. If you use various plant foods necessary for the normal robots of the body, then vegetarianism can be very useful. Less strict vegetarian food is useful for losing weight, as well as for atherosclerosis, intestinal dyskinesia and constipation, gout, kidney stones, especially in old age. The diet of vegans almost completely eliminates fatty acids and cholesterol, so this way of eating contributes to preventive measures to prevent atherosclerosis and some other diseases, but only if vitamins and minerals are used in addition to food.
Impact on health
With a vegetarian diet, the body is saturated with nutrients and vitamins, including: carbohydrates, omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, carotenoids, folic acid, vitamin E, etc. Improves well-being and maintains normal weight levels with moderate intake of fatty acids, cholesterol and protein from plant-based foods.
The results of the largest studies have established that various diseases and ailments are more rare among vegetarians:
- Among vegetarians who adhere to a diet for more than five years, there are 24% less patients with coronary heart disease.
- The blood pressure of vegetarians is much lower than that of non-vegetarians, so hypertension and other causes of sudden changes in blood pressure are less common among them.
- It has been found that vegetarians are less likely to contract various cancers other than bowel cancer.
- Vegan and vegetarian diets significantly reduce the risk of developing type XNUMX diabetes. Vegetarian eating is also associated with a reduced likelihood of metabolic syndrome, various disorders that are the cause of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- A vegetarian diet can help fight obesity. Overweight people are very rare among vegetarians.
- In non-strict vegetarians, cataracts occur by 30%, and in vegans it is 40% less common than in people who include more than 100 g of meat in their daily diet.
- Diverticulosis occurs 31% less frequently in vegetarians.
- Fasting, after a vegetarian diet, has a positive effect on rheumatoid treatment.
- A vegetarian diet helps to normalize high urinary and blood levels, favorably supporting the treatment of chronic kidney disease.
Effects on mental health and life expectancy
- Vegetarians have a more favorable and stable emotional state than non-vegetarians.
- The complete or partial restriction of meat consumption contributes to a significant increase in life expectancy. Following a vegetarian diet for 20 years or more can extend life by approximately 3,6 years.
Basic Recommendations for Vegetarianism
- 1 It is best to stick to a less strict vegetarian diet, as some animal foods are simply necessary for the normal functioning of the body.
- 2 Subject to strict vegetarianism, you need to include in the diet such essential nutrients as protein, fats, as well as multivitamins and foods high in vitamins and minerals.
- 3 During pregnancy, breastfeeding and teaching children to vegetarianism, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the body of the mother and child also requires food of animal origin. Ignoring this factor can lead to very negative consequences.
- 4 The inclusion in the diet of strict vegetarianism and pollen in any quantity will not be able to provide the body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Substitutes for essential substances
- protein – can be obtained from legumes,, spinach, cauliflower, and wheat;
- fats – contain various vegetable oils: olive, linseed, sunflower, hemp, coconut, cottonseed, walnut, etc.;
- iron – the required amount is found in nuts, seeds, beans and green vegetables;
- calcium and zinc – can be obtained from dairy foods, as well as from leafy vegetables of a rich green color, in particular kale, and cress, seeds, Brazilian and, dried fruits and tofu;
- omega-3 fatty acids – the sources are flax seeds, various nuts, beans and grains;
- vitamin D – the body is saturated with the sun’s rays, as well as foods such as yeast,,, parsley, wheat germ, egg yolk.
Dangerous properties of vegetarianism
If you misbalance your diet and miss out on vital components in a vegetarian lifestyle, then this will lead to dangerous consequences. Very often, vegetarians have a deficiency of,, protein, omega-3 fatty acids,, vitamins, etc.
The likelihood of disease with strict vegetarianism
- Lack of vitamins D and B12 in the body leads to problems of hematopoietic processes, as well as to malfunctions of the nervous system.
- With a lack of amino acids and some vitamins (especially vitamin D), the growth and development of the child is disrupted (even if the child is still in the mother’s womb), which leads to rickets, anemia and other diseases associated with inferiority. With a deficiency of the same substances in adults, teeth and hair begin to fall out, and bones become more fragile.
- When you refuse dairy foods, the body does not have enough vitamin.
- Lack of substances that contain exclusively animal foods can cause, lead to a decrease in muscle mass and bone disease.
- Although calcium, copper, iron and zinc can be obtained from plant-based foods, their digestibility can be very low.
- A vegetarian diet is not able to provide the body with the necessary amount of assimilable calcium for menopausal women, as well as for the elderly and athletes. At the same time, there is a high risk of developing osteoporosis.