The Top Five Nutrients Vegetarians Lack. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets have advantages.
Vegetarian diets tend to be rich in antioxidants, certainvitamins, and healthy fats. Non-vegetarian diets, bycontrast, tend to contain more protein, iron, zinc,calcium, and vitamin B-12.
If you already decided to adopt a vegetarian diet,it is essential you learn how to increase your intakeand absorption of these nutrients to avoid short-termand long-term health complications.
In the next few paragraphs, I will explain how youcan regularly assimilate larger portions of thesenutrients into your regular diet:1. Protein. Different types of protein are made upof different permutations of amino acid chains.
In order to create a “complete protein” or aprotein that can be assimilated into the humanbody as tissue, you must consume foods that containcomplementary chains of amino acids.
Wheat, nuts, and beans are three types of vegan-friendlyincomplete proteins; however, wheat is hard todigest and up to 50% of its protein is lostduring the process.
Isolated soy protein, which you can get from a numberof sources (including soy milk), can be digestedefficiently-enough to match the animal protein yields.
2. Iron. Plant sources contain a significant amount ofiron, but in nonheme form, which is more sensitiveto inhibitors than iron that comes from animal products.
You should do two things to increase your blood-ironlevels: 1) consume more plant iron; and 2) avoid absorptioninhibitors, such as tea, coffee, and fiber.
3. Zinc. Whereas non-vegetarian diets seem to enhancethe absorption of zinc; vegetarian and vegan dietsdo the exact opposite–they inhibit it.
Nutritionists suggest that you can overcomethis by consuming more foods that contain zinc,such as soybeans, cashews, and sunflowerseeds while reducing your intake of inhibitorsby washing vegetables and grains.
4. Calcium. While vegetarians can easily consumean adequate amount of calcium without any dietaryadditions, it is important that vegetarians avoidconsuming certain foods that are high in oxalates,which inhibit calcium absorption.
Dietitians suggest that vegetarians do not consumespinach, beet greens, and swiss chard as thecalcium component of a meal plan. While they arerich in calcium, they also contain high amounts ofoxalates.
Rather than consuming those foods for calcium,vegetarians should consider other options, such assoy yogurt, tofu, beans, almonds, and calcium-fortified foods.
5. Vitamin B-12. Many vegetarians lackvitamin B-12 simply because it does not existnaturally in any non-animal forms. Vegetariansshould seek out vitamin B-12 fortified foods,such as certain soy milks and cereals tosupplement what they lack.
As I outlined, there are a number of nutrientsvegetarians can lack of they do not researchand plan. This is not meant to discouragepeople from becoming vegetarians, but insteadto encourage them to spend time planning ahealth approach to their vegetarian dietbefore starting it.
When planned adequately, a vegetarian dietcan not only make up for what it lacks fromanimal products, but it can far exceedthe healthfulness of most non-vegetarian diets.