Vegetarian diets are a style of diet that has become very popular in recent years due to the massive acceptance it has had in the population. There are multiple opinions about this way of eating, however its benefits have already been proven .

What foods are incorporated into this diet

The vegetarian diets focus on the consumption of plant foods such as legumes, vegetables, seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables. In other words, it is an exclusive diet , since it leaves out products, materials and foods of animal origin , such as meat, dairy products and some sausages.

The vegetarians define this way of eating as a lifestyle because, beyond just worrying define the type of food they consume, relate this style of nutrition aspects and beliefs . Ethics, the economics of products, religious beliefs, world hunger and the preservation of the animal species are just some ideals that many of them defend.

But, beyond those issues that have little to do directly with the body, it is important to make it clear that this is a really healthy alternative because, without a doubt, it guarantees well-being and stable health .

Therefore, it is recommended that vegetarians make sure to include in their diet all the necessary nutrients for the body , such as proteins, vitamins and minerals. The iron, protein, zinc, calcium and vitamin B12 can never be lacking in daily food intake.

Benefits of vegetarian diets

The vegetarians enjoy many benefits to choosing this type of diets. Specifically because they prevent and serve as a treatment for different diseases, such as those related to obesity, hypertension, cancer , among others.

This happens because there is a low intake of harmful foods that contain saturated fat and cholesterol. In addition, because they promote the consumption of vegetables, grains, nuts and green vegetables, foods rich in fiber and antioxidants that especially contribute to the decrease in the chances of suffering from a chronic disease.

For example, scientific studies show that vegetarians have a 50 percent lower risk of dying from cancer . Diets that are based on the consumption of vegetables reduce the possibility of developing breast and colon cancer , the latter directly associated with the intake of foods of animal origin.

The cardiovascular diseases are also alleviated because the products and foods of animal origin contain saturated fat and cholesterol. The same happens with the prevention of type 2 diabetes , which can be more controlled with a diet rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates.

Protein sources for vegetarians

The functions that proteins fulfill in the body are of the utmost importance, since they are essential for development and maintaining optimal health.

One of the main factors to take into account in a vegetarian diet is how to incorporate proteins that are not of animal origin , and this does not have to be a disadvantage, since the variety of foods that vegetarian diets have will provide these essential nutrients, but you must know how to incorporate them correctly.

Vegans and vegetarians mainly include foods such as: beans, nut butter, soy, veggie burgers, tofu, tempeh. Also dairy and eggs are sources of protein for lacto-ovo vegetarians.


The main foods rich in iron that vegans and vegetarians should incorporate into the diet are: spinach, green beans, lentils, turnips, molasses, whole grain breads, peas, and nuts such as prunes and raisins, and dried peaches.


It is well known that calcium helps us in the formation of healthy teeth and bones, as well as helping us to have more bone strength.

The main foods that provide calcium for a vegetarian are tofu with calcium sulfate, orange juice, kale, Chinese cabbage, turnip greens, mustard greens, green leafy foods themselves.


Zinc is necessary for many biochemical reactions and also helps the immune system to function properly. The main sources of zinc for vegetarians and vegans include many types of beans (white beans, red beans and chickpeas), you can also incorporate breakfast cereals fortified with zinc, wheat germ and pumpkin seeds . Also some dairy products are a source of zinc for lacto vegetarians.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products and some fortified foods, however vegetarians can also buy them. Sources of vitamin B12 for vegetarians include dairy products, eggs, and foods that have been fortified with vitamin B12, but if we are looking for something more natural, we can include almond milk, veggie burgers, nutritional yeast (which is not equal to the yeast ).

Types of vegetarian diets

There are many versions of these diets , mainly because there is a variation in the type of vegetarian you can choose to be. There are the vegans or pure vegetarians , who are those who do not consume any type of food of animal origin and there are the ” ovo-lacto-vegetarians “, who include eggs and milk in their diet. From there, some vegetarian diets that can be mentioned are:

  • The semi-vegetarian diet.
  • The fish-vegetarian diet.
  • The strict vegetarian diet.
  • The ovovegetarian diet.
  • The lactovegetarian diet.
  • And the ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet.

Although for many people the vegetarian diet could be difficult or extreme, numerous testimonies of various vegetarians and vegans, confirm a considerable increase in health , decrease in obesity and improvement of the quality of life , benefits derived from the change in diet, to a diet free of animal products .

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *