Get The Facts About Vegetarian Diets
What you need to know before you go veggie
Taking a daily vitamin mineral supplement that provides complete amounts of
the above nutrients is another way to ensure adequate nutrition. And getting
plenty of sunshine is one way to satisfy the body's requirement for vitamin
If you adopt a vegan diet, you also need to understand the concept of
complementary proteins. Animal protein is complete, meaning it contains all the
amino acids essential to a healthy diet. Plant foods contain plenty of protein,
but their amino acids are incomplete. So to make sure you're getting complete
protein, eat different plant foods in combination -- for example, by having
beans along with your rice. Vegans need to pay close attention to their diets
to make sure they are nutritionally adequate.
The plan outlined in the Dean Ornish, MD, lifestyle diet book, Eat More,
Weigh Less, is a vegetarian diet designed to help you reverse heart disease
and lose weight. Ornish has published several scientific studies to document
the effectiveness of his diet, which is high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables
and very low in fat. This low-fat, vegetarian approach can be difficult to
adhere to for a long periods of time. But if you can stick with it, the
benefits are outstanding.
"A vegetarian diet may be just as effective as statin drugs in
lowering blood cholesterol."
Why Be a Vegetarian?
Most people who convert to vegetarianism now do so for health reasons.
Others are vegetarians because of religious, moral, environmental, and/or
Vegetarian lifestyles are associated with a reduced risk of many chronic
illnesses, including heart disease, many types of cancer, diabetes, high blood
pressure, and obesity. Not only do most vegetarians eat more healthfully than
meat eaters, they tend to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco and to exercise
regularly. Clearly, a lifestyle that includes these good habits is one that
will help you control your weight.
A study reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association
demonstrated the effectiveness of a vegetarian diet in lowering blood
cholesterol levels. This diet was low in fat and included soy, nuts, margarines
containing plant sterols (such as Benecol), high-fiber grains, and plenty of
fruits and vegetables.