Nutrition Tips for Vegetarians

Whether you became a vegetarian for moral and ethical reasons or simply for health, there are certain things you need to know about nutrition. Vegetarians are far more susceptible to vitamin and mineral deficiencies because of the restrictions they put on their diets and it is very important that you understand how to replace what you have removed from your diet, if you wish to remain healthy.

The most obvious mineral that is often lacking in the vegetarian diet is iron. Anyone who knows anything about nutrition can tell you that taking meat out of your diet, red meat in particular, is the perfect way to end up with anemia. What they might not realize, however, is how many other foods contain iron.

For example, eating a good quantity of broccoli and beans will also provide the vegetarian with the iron that he or she needs in order to avoid problems. Also, eating whole-grain products such as bread and cereals is an excellent way to boost nutrition and iron in your diet. If you make sure that you take in Vitamin C at the same time, your body will actually absorb more iron than without the Vitamin C.

Vitamin B12 is often lacking in a vegetarian diet as well. To maintain good nutrition, you need to include this vital vitamin in your food. It is found naturally in dairy products and eggs, which many vegetarians also remove from their diet. So if you are not lacto-ovo, you should consider having plenty of soy products and possibly a supplement.

Calcium is another common nutrition deficiency found in vegetarians who do not eat dairy products or eggs. Although it is a bit more difficult to find in other sources, you can supplement your intake by adding tofu and green leafy vegetables to your diet. Also, fortified soy milk contains a good quantity of calcium.

Protein is one of the most obvious nutritional concerns of vegetarians. However, it is also one of the easier things to replace in this type of diet. Soy contains protein and there are plenty of imitation meat products on the market. Textured vegetable protein contains a healthy amount of protein as does whole-grain. However, with whole grains, such as brown bread, you need a complementary food like peanut butter or another legume in order to create a complete protein.

Vegetarians really need to watch their nutrition and make sure that they are eating a very balanced diet. If you tend to eat only miso soup with noodles, you are pushing towards a major body breakdown. While vegetarianism is supposedly more healthy for you, if you don’t know how to replace the missing nutrition in your food, you will actually be more unhealthy!

To avoid this, it is important to study up on basic nutrition and cook healthy meals with portions from each nutrition group. This is even more important when we are looking at the diet of vegetarian children who are still growing and need a fully rounded diet.

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