With the rising number of health issues and ailments liked to the consumption of fats and cholesterol found in animal meat, it is no wonder why vegetarians are rapidly growing in number, in the United States alone.
Nowadays, it is estimated that one in every four person can be considered a vegetarian. Some of these people religiously follow disciplined vegetarian diets.
You might also be amazed that there are specialty restaurants that are specifically established to cater to vegetarians. Chefs also are constantly innovating and developing dishes that would help vegetarians enjoy eating.
But do these vegetarians know more about the possible vitamin deficiencies they may contract because of their exclusivity to vegetables?
Some do not know about these needs. And maybe some are simply just negligent.
Different types of vegetarians
There are four major groups of vegetarians, in relation to the kind of food they eat and the vitamins they generate from these food sources.
* Vegans are those vegetarians who refuse to consume foods other than fruits, grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Vegans are particularly noteworthy because they do not intend to consume even eggs and dairy products. Thus, vegans’ vitamins and nutrients needs are consisting of calcium, protein, iron and Vitamin B12.
* Lacto-vegetarians are like vegans, except that they consume low-fat and processed milk, eggs and other dairy products. Thus, the vitamin needs of these vegetarians are narrowed to only Vitamin B12 since dairies are rich in protein, calcium and iron.
* Lacto-ovo-vegetarians are like lacto-vegetarians. But these groups of vegetarians do not limit their dairy foods intake to low-fat. They consume even the fresh and high-fat dairy products. Vitamin needs of these vegetarians are like those of the lacto-vegetarians.
* Semi-vegetarians are people who eat chicken and fish but not other types of meat like beef, lamb and pork. Thus, these vegetarians’ vitamins needs are far lower compared to their other counterparts since they can assimilate more vitamins from wider food sources.
Vegetarians’ vitamin need
The principal aim of vegetarians is to drastically cut, if not eliminate, the absorption of fats from food to prevent cholesterol build up that leads to obesity, hypertension, heart ailments, strokes and a host of other diseases.
But by doing so, they compromise their bodies assimilation of other vitamins and nutrients needed for better functioning. Thus, experts note that most vegetarians experience mild to severe deficiencies to some nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Most vegetarians need more vitamin B12. This is because this vitamin is particularly found only in animal meat. However, to meet the vegetarian’s needs for this vitamin, they can resort to eating breakfast cereals, brewers’ yeast and soy beverages.
Because vegetarians’ vitamin supplies are somehow made limited, they are also subjected to vitamin D deficiency. The need for this vitamin can be satisfied by exposure to direct sunlight because vitamin D is synthesized by the body’s skin.
Zinc is a mineral that most vegetarians need more. That is because this is much needed for improved growth among teenagers.
Protein is one nutrient that can only be found mostly in dairy products. But the strict vegetarians’ needs for protein can be met by consuming soy products, which are the only plant-sourced food to contain as much protein as dairies.
Plan your diet
Experts and dieticians advise that before you subject yourself to any vegetarianism diet practices, you must first research about them. Get to know the potential vitamin needs that might miss by avoiding several foods.
If you are a vegetarian and your vitamin needs are still not met, consult your doctor to ask about vitamin supplements suited for you.
Remember, vegetarianism is good, but you need to source out those vitamins you need from other sources if you want to maximize the dietary discipline’s results.
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Charlene J. Nuble
For All the things you need to know about vitamins, please go to: Vitamin Deficiency [http://www.dailyvitamins.org/]