Vegetarian Nutrition

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There has been a renewed interest in vegetarian nutrition that appears to stem from the recent research which gives credit to vegetarian diets for decreased cardiac disease, decreased stroke, weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and over all good health. While vegetarianism is not a new concept the previous reasons of concern over animal rights appear to have found a new rival a healthier you.

This renewed interest in vegetarian nutrition has sparked countless new cookbooks, articles, websites, and groups that discuss vegetarian nutrition and provide a guiding hand for those who want to follow a meatless diet.

In the past vegetarian nutrition was considered strange and a bit faddish. Today, youll find vegetarian options in many of the mainstream restaurants as well as restaurants that serve only vegetarian options. Even the American Dietetic Association recognizes that well-planned vegetarian nutrition proves healthful benefits in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

The old adage that we are what we eat isnt just an expression. It is actual fact. Our bodies use the nutrition that we feed it each day to build new cells and protect ourselves through the immune system. When we live on processed foods those are the nutrients that build our cells.

Vegetarians come in many different forms. There are lacto-vegetarians or those who eat dairy and plant based foods. The ovo-lacto vegetarians eat the dairy products but also eat eggs as well. The vegans are strict vegetarians who eat mostly raw foods and the flexitarian eats meat on occasion.

New vegetarians are concerned with getting the correct amounts of protein and calcium to build strong bones and bodies. Vegetarian nutrition provides all the necessary nutrients if you know where to look. It isnt as hard as you might think to include enough foods in your diet to get the protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal nutrition.

In a report published by the World Cancer Research Fund, 1997, it recommended that a persons cancer risk could be lowered by eating a mostly plant-based diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and minimal amounts of processed starchy staple foods. Several published studies have proven that people who eat higher amounts of fruits and vegetables have about the risk of cancer. The risk of cancer today estimated by the American Cancer Society, is 1 of every 3 people will be touched by some cancer in their lifetime. This is up from 1 of every 6 people 20 years ago.

Frequently eating nuts has been associated with 30-60% reduced risk of coronary artery disease. Although nuts are high in fat and calories they are low in saturated fats and most are rich in monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are healthy and needed by the body to repair the nerve fibers in our brain and spinal cords

Any type of diet, vegetarian nutrition or not, must include a wide variety of foods and enough calories to meet your energy needs. This is your diet, your health and your choice. Make a wise one.

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