Vegetarianism is generally understood to be a meat-free diet. However, there are vegetarian groups that still consume some types of meat or animal-based products. To keep a healthy vegetarian diet, it is better if you pay attention to the balance of the nutritional content in it, according to the physical condition of each individual. The reasons for a person to become a vegetarian are varied, partly due to health factors. Indeed, there are many benefits of this diet for body health, including healthier body weight and cholesterol levels, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease. Also, you are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and diabetes.
Know the Types of a Vegetarian Diet
• Semi vegetarian or flexitarian
This vegetarian diet consumes food from plants, but occasionally still consumes meat, dairy products, eggs, poultry, and fish, or in small amounts.
• Lacto vegetarian
This vegetarian diet does not include meat, fish, poultry, and eggs in its diet, but still consumes products produced from milk, such as cheese, yogurt, and butter.
In contrast to Lacto vegetarians, the diet of this vegetarian group does not consume meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products, but still allows the consumption of eggs.
• Lacto-Ovo vegetarian.
This vegetarian diet does not include all types of meat, but still consumes eggs and milk. It is the strictest vegetarian diet by eliminating the consumption of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and dairy products in the diet.
Important Nutrients to Pay Attention to Vegetarians
The following are nutrients that need attention from a vegetarian diet.
Protein will help your skin, bones, muscles and other organs stay healthy. Milk and processed products are sources of protein needed for the body’s needs every day.
The body needs calcium to build healthy bones and teeth. Usually, calcium is obtained from dairy and processed products, including yogurt and cheese.
• Vitamin D
To absorb calcium, the body needs vitamin D. For a vegetarian, besides the production of vitamin D by the body itself with the help of sunlight, this substance can be obtained from cereals and soy drinks that are equipped with vitamin D.
Useful as a component of the thyroid hormone that helps regulate metabolism, growth, and function of the main body organs. Adherents to a vegetarian diet are at risk of not getting adequate iodine intake.
• Vitamin B12
The body needs vitamin B12 to keep the nervous system and blood healthy. Unfortunately, these nutrients are found naturally from animal products. For adherents of a vegetarian diet, the products that can be a source of vitamin B12 are very limited, making them susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Iron is needed by the body because the production of red blood cells in the body requires this substance. Several types of foods that can be chosen as sources of iron are grains, flour, bread, and many others.
• Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These nutrients are important for maintaining heart health. Fatty acids are generally obtained from fish and eggs. For a vegetarian diet that does not consume these products, omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from various types of cooking oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, and soybeans.