Most of us consume proteins and fats more than what we need. An excess of protein can cause kidney failure and/or osteoporosis, and a high-fat diet can eventually lead to heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. On the other hand, vegetarians get protein from grains, beans, vegetables, and low-fat food. This is how they reduce the risk of most diseases caused by fats. It is a myth to believe that vegetarians don’t get enough proteins or that their diet is not balanced because they don’t eat meat. The key is variety and accurate combinations of energy and protein sources.
Would I be getting proper and sufficient nutrients such as zinc, calcium and proteins by going vegetarian? How healthy would I be?
People who follow a varied and well-balanced vegetarian diet are in line with the current nutritional recommendations for a low fat and high fiber diet. A well-balanced vegetarian diet provides all the nutrients you need for good health. So being a vegetarian does not mean your diet will be lacking in nutrients such as zinc, calcium and protein. Most plant foods contain protein. It’s not only found in meat. It’s also present in adequate quantities in dairy products, seeds and nuts, as well as in combinations of foods such as pulses and grains. Proteins are necessary to sustain life, repair body tissues and promote cell renewal, to manufacture hormones, enzymes and blood cells. Lack of protein in diet can result in fatigue, weakness and increased susceptibility to colds, flu’s and infections.
But excess dietary protein may lead to health problems. It is now thought that one of the benefits of vegetarian diet is that it contains adequate but not excessive protein.
Common mistake is committed when turning into vegetarian diet, without proper understanding and guidance, is to end up eating mainly carbohydrate-rich food neglecting enough intake of fruits and vegetables. needless to mention nuts and seeds.
Vegetable sourced protein is not inferior to animal based proteins. Rather for humans is far superior to animal proteins.
Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids commonly found in plant, eight of which must be present in the diet. These are the essential amino acids. But they cannot be available in one source. However, a varied vegetarian diet means consuming a mixture of proteins; the amino acids in one protein compensating for the deficiencies of another. Having eight of these amino acids in the diet does not mean that they should be present all together in one meal, because the body can collect them over several meals and store them for use when needed.
Good sources of protein for vegetarians include nuts and seeds, pulses, cereals (wheat, oats, and rice) and some dairy products (milk, cheese and yoghurt).
However, along with supplying the body with a valuable source of protein, plant foods also contain micronutrients, hytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins,minerals and fibers that you will not find in meat.