6 Interesting Things About Nutrition in Vegetarian Diets

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1. Vegetarians Do Not Have to Worry About Protein

Contrary to popular belief, vegetarians that eat enough vegetables, beans, grains and nuts will meet or exceed all the needs for proteins and amino acids. It is nearly impossible for vegetarians to be deficient in protein when they’re eating correctly. Erroneous opinions about protein deficiency in vegetarian diets come from a cultural bias that places high value on animal proteins and neglects proteins in vegetarian foods.

In the past, scientists believed that vegetarians needed to combine foods with different amino acids to get proper nutrition. The science behind this was solid, but the conclusions were erroneous. The human body can combine amino acids on its own and it doesn’t need any more help from us.

In fact, consuming excessive amounts of protein can lead to calcium deficiency

Potential protein deficiencies get so much attention that many people do not get to look at the other side of the equation. In reality, consuming too much protein means getting an excessive intake of sulfur-containing amino acids and can lead to calcium loss in the bones.

2. A balanced vegetarian diet has enough calcium

Milk is overrated.

While there are different opinions about the benefits of milk, one fact is undeniable: a lot of animals produce milk for their babies, but adult animals don’t drink milk. Dogs drink raccoon milk. Even adult cows don’t drink cow milk. Milk is a great source of calcium, but there’s no need for it after infancy for humans and other mammals.

Calcium is vital for a healthy body, but milk isn’t the only way to get it. Broccoli, almonds, sesame seeds, and dark green leafy vegetables are all great plant sources of calcium and make meeting calcium recommendations easy for vegetarians.

3. Vegetarians Need More Iron Than Non-Vegetarians

The reason for it is because the human body absorbs iron from meats easier than iron from plants. However, it’s not really a problem for vegetarians because vegetarian diets contain more iron than diets with meat.

However, it makes sense to consume foods that promote iron absorption when you’re on a vegetarian diet.

Certain elements in the foods enhance iron absorption while others inhibit it. Vitamin C is one of the best iron absorption enhancers and eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as oatmeal, black beans and broccoli will significantly enhance iron absorption in your body.

4. Vitamin B12 May be an Issue

Only animal products contain vitamin B12, which is why some vegetarians and vegans could become deficient in vitamin B12. This is not a problem for vegetarians that eat dairy products, but those who don’t may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement.

5. Vegetarians Should Pay Attention to Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This idea is somewhat new. Scientific studies suggest that vegetarian diets are rich in n-6 fatty acids, but contain fewer n-3s, which may contain an imbalance.

6. Be Mindful of Vitamin D

An average person needs between five and fifteen minutes of exposure to summer sun a day to the hands and the face for his or her body to create enough vitamin D and even store it over the winter months. However, this is not how things work in the real world, which is why it makes sense to pay attention to how much vitamin D you get.

Vegetarians have several powerful sources of vitamin D available, including fortified soy milk and rice milk.

Did any of these things about vegetarian nutrition surprise you? Let us know in the comments below.

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