For cultural reasons or animal friendly, people nowadays are more and more considering vegetarian diets.
So what is the vegetarian diet exactly?
In general we can define it as a diet system rich in food of plant origin like fruits and vegetables, grains and nuts. There are many types of this lifestyle: the first is vegan diet that excludes all meat, poultry and fish species and excludes all animal products such as eggs, milk, cheese… The second type is the lacto vegeterian system which includes dairy products and plant derivatives. The third type is the lacto-ovo vegetarians system that includes dairy and eggs and plant derivatives.
Studies showed that vegetarian people live longer. In fact when being vegetarian the lifespan increases from 3 to 7 years.
Why? Because excessive meat consumption leads to many health problems such as high cholesterol and stress and heart diseases and some cancers.
You should know that the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants that protect against many diseases and cancer and protect the arteries. And the fact that it includes a lot of fruit, vegetables and grains that are rich in fiber helps digestion, intestines cleaning and lowering cholesterol. Besides, vegan diet contains little fat and thus it helps to reduce and maintain weight.
Though, there is some very important nutrients to health that are mostly from animal sources such as minerals and vitamins (b12), iron and calcium that vegans or vegetarians should be aware of.
There is of cousse some alternatives, they could add certain foods to their diet to obtain these nutrients, like:
Iron : soy beans, beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas.
Calcium : soya milk (or cow milk for some vegetarians), tofu, dairy products (cheese made out of soy), okra or ladies’ fingers, broccoli, raw almonds.
B-12 : this vitamin is exclusively from animal source, so vegans who do not enter fish and dairy in their diet may need to supplement this vitamin better after consulting a doctor.
Also, vegans should be aware that having a sufficient quantity of protein in a daily basis is necessary to avoid muscle loss from their body. Plant sources of protein are beans, soy milk, and spinach.