Maybe you have heard that eating more vegetables and less meat is good for your health. Probably you have been inspired to even start a vegetarian diet in order to improve your health and lose some weight. The healthy vegetarian lifestyle is beneficial in so many ways. A vegan diet is arguably the healthiest way to eat especially if your meals are comprised of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. The following are tips on living the healthy vegetarian lifestyle:
Make Vegetables an Integral Part of Your Meal.
A great meal should not be centred on meat alone. Vegetarian diets are packed with vitamins and essential minerals that help keep your calories in check without leaving you hungry. Vitamins found in a vegetarian diet help in boosting your immune system hence preventing diseases and keeping you in tip-top condition. The right mix of vegetables and fruit will help your digestive system too! No more bloating and constipation!
Eat Legumes, Beans, Pulses and Nuts.
Legumes are a rich source of natural protein and are ideal for vegetarian diets. Eating vegetables alone without a source of protein can lead to malnutrition. For vegetarians protein sources are reasonably plentiful; dairy products and eggs are good sources and, if supplemented with legumes you will easily meet your body’s requirements. Since eating animal protein is not allowed in a vegan diet other great sources include beans (pinto beans, for example, have 21g of protein per 100g), soy foods, (be careful though of processed soy products, check ingredients for too many additives), lentils, and nuts (almonds are on a par with pinto beans; 21g per 100g). To calculate your daily protein requirement use this formula:
Multiply your body weight in kilograms by 0.8, (or in pounds by 0.37)
Enhance Iron Absorption.
Anaemia, especially iron deficiency anaemia, is quite common among vegans. This is because most vegans tend to ignore the need to eat vegetables and foods rich in iron. If you maintain your legume consumption and add in plenty of leafy greens (spinach and chard are excellent sources of iron) you should easily avoid iron deficiency. Ensure that your diet also consists of vitamin sources for instance strawberries, cabbage, citrus fruits, broccoli and cauliflower as your body needs an adequate supply of Vitamin C to aid the absorption of iron.
Eat a Variety of Foods.
In order to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients required in a vegetarian diet, it is essential for you to eat balanced meals that incorporate a variety of healthy foods. You now know that you can get protein from beans and nuts etc. and many fruits are a rich source of Vitamins especially A, C and Vitamin K. Adding in a good daily dose of leafy greens will keep up your iron intake. Just mix things up a bit with tomatoes; rich in lycopene which is good for the heart, blueberries which contain anthocyanins; good for the brain and plenty of whole grains for fibre – think whole wheat, bulgur, rye, (omit these 3 if gluten-intolerant), oats, corn, popcorn, brown rice, wild rice, millet, quinoa. Blend them all together and you’ll have a well balanced meal that’ll keep you healthy and energetic. So, what are you waiting for? Go cook!!