To understand vegetarian food and the problems that might come nutritionally from them, you first you must understand the diets.
Abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish. In addition to fish and/or shellfish, a pescetarian diet typically includes all vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains beans, and also permits eggs and dairy They believe that eating fish and fish oils is essential for optimal health because of the Omega 3 fatty acids Vegan Diet
This diet excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and any other foods that are processed using animal fat such as refined white sugar and some wines. A healthy and varied vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Revered by some for its healthy and healing qualities, includes unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are avoided. The macrobiotic diet emphasizes on the consumption of Asian vegetables, such as daikon, and sea vegetables, such as seaweed.
Refers to individuals who consume dairy produce and eggs but who exclude all meat, fish and poultry.
Refers to individuals who eat plant food and eggs but exclude dairy products
This diet excludes animal meats and eggs but does includes dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream, and kefir, but excludes eggs. Lacto-vegetarians also abstain from cheeses that include animal rennet and yogurts that contain gelatin.
Common signs of nutrient deficiencies that Vegetarians encounter are fatigue, dry skin, dry hair, brittle nails, anemia, hypoglycemia, frequent infections, osteoporosis and poor immune function.
You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy. Good sources of protein are Legumes and beans, Soy and tofu products, Nuts and seeds, Whole grains, Algae and seaweed and Most plant foods contain protein Common signs of protein deficiencies are Edema, weight loss, thinning or brittle hair, hair loss, and ridges or deep lines in finger and toe nails. The skin becomes very light and can burn easily in the sun, skin rashes, dryness, flakiness, general weakness and lethargy, muscle soreness and weakness, cramps, slowness in healing wounds, cuts, scrapes, and bruises, bedsores and skin ulcers, difficulty sleeping, headache, nausea and stomach pain and fainting
Vitamin B12 deficiency
This vitamin is produced by bacteria in soil and in animals. Since it is found in animal foods, it is not generally considered a concern for those vegetarians who have eggs and dairy products in their diets. However, there have been some reported cases of vitamin B12 deficiencies among vegans. To be on the safe side, people on such diets should add vitamin B12-fortified cereals or soy milk, or a vegetarian vitamin B12 supplement to their diets, or have a tablespoon of nutritional yeast about once a month.
Vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause pernicious anemia or debilitating nervous system dysfunction. The most common vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms include tiredness, being irritable, finding it hard to concentrate, difficulty remembering things, and in extreme cases, psychosis or depression. Many believe that B12 helps normalize the body’s internal sleep timers, so if you find yourself sleeping often and waking up tired, a vitamin B12 deficiency may be the cause.
Our diet is highly dependent on red meat for iron. Absorption of iron is dependent on stomach acid. The vegetarian form of iron requires vitamin C so the body can use it. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C. Sources of iron vegetarians can use are tofu, black strap molasses, lentils, lima beans, potato, wheat germ, pinto beans, kidney beans, dandelion greens, kale, pumpkin seeds, black beans, spinach, broccoli, almonds, pumpkin, beet greens, figs, raisins, prunes, green beans, whole wheat, parsley, corn, peanuts, cashew butter, almond butter, blueberries, bananas and raspberries. Do not consume tea or coffee with meals as these can interfere with iron absorption Enhance iron absorption by including vitamin C in the same meal like taking a small glass of orange juice with your meal.
Cooking in cast iron cookware every so often rather than stainless steel because iron cookware can leach absorbable iron into simmering food. Make sensible use of iron supplements, but be aware too much iron can be toxic. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, delay normal infant motor function or mental function, during pregnancy can increase risk for small or preterm babies, can cause fatigue and may also affect memory or other mental function in teens Mild iron deficiency anemia may not cause noticeable symptoms. Anemia symptoms may include weakness, fatigue, or lack of stamina., shortness of breath and muscle pain during exercise, Headache, Trouble concentrating, Irritability, Dizziness, Pale skin, Craving substances that are not food (pica), and a craving for ice can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia.
Is really important for the immune system, as well as for skin, and neurological health. If you tend to get frequent infections you should definitely add more zinc rich foods in to your diet to optimize your immune system.
Foods that can be supplemented are wheat germ toasted, swiss chard, baked potato, oats, mustard greens, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, rice, kidney beans, ginger root, wild rice, peas, leeks, lentils, cashews, sunflower seeds, and lima beans. Zinc deficiencies can cause growth retardation, loss of appetite, impaired immune function, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism in males, and eye and skin lesions, weight loss, delayed healing of wounds, taste abnormalities, and mental lethargy.
Because they do not eat or drink animal products a calcium deficiency could occur. Calcium is required for building strong bones and teeth, clotting blood, vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion. Good sources of calcium are cooked turnip greens, torula yeast, collard greens, cooked rhubarb, spinach, oatmeal, tofu, broccoli, dandelion greens, swiss chard, blackstrap molasses, soy flour, mustard greens, almonds, baked beans, filberts, oranges, cooked kale, fresh spinach, tahini, and garbanzo beans. Calcium deficiencies can lead to Osteoporosis.
Some symptoms of calcium deficiencies in baby’s are bones and teeth not developing correctly. Teenage girls may enter puberty late and may have irregular menstrual cycles with excessive bleeding and cramps. In adults, early tooth decay and frequent bone fractures. Eat at least three servings of dairy foods a day for ex: milk in cereal, yoghurt, cheese in a sandwich, if you are growing, pregnant or breast feeding you should increase to 4-5 portions per day. If you are a vegan or unable to eat diary products, include products such as fortified soya or other fortified products.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids deficiency
Vegetarian diets can be deficient in these fats that are necessary for a healthy nervous system as well as fighting inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive and behavioral function The best vegetarian source is freshly ground flax seeds and raw walnuts. Fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Some signs of Omega 3 fatty acids deficiencies are learning disabilities, depression, arthritis, eczema, obesity and heart disease
Your doctor may order blood work to find out if you have a deficiency in any of the above nutrients. Vegetarians should be sure to watch for theses signs and symptoms and increase intake of alternative sources of these nutrients to maintain optimal health.
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