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Be a healthy vegetarian

Vegetarianism, today is a trend. Some follow it due to cultural, religious and ethical reasons while others do it to avoid heart diseases and stay healthy.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 26, 2011 02:30 IST
Dr Anjali Mukerjee

Vegetarianism, today is a trend. Some follow it due to cultural, religious and ethical reasons while others do it to avoid heart diseases and stay healthy. A well-planned vegetarian diet benefits patients, helps in faster healing and is ideal for pregnant or breast-feeding women. A typical vegetarian diet is low in saturated fat and high in fibre, complex carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables. It presents most of the dietary recommendations for healthy eating.

Here are some vegetarian sources and alternatives that can provide essential nutrients: Protein: Women need about 45 grams of protein and men about 55 grams of protein everyday. Most vegetarians worry about not getting adequate protein from their diet. Tofu is a good protein source providing 30 grams of protein per cup. Calcium: Calcium helps build and maintain healthy teeth and bones.

It is found in low-fat milk products, dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and fortified calcium products such as tofu, soy-milk, and fruit juice. Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 is essential to produce red blood cells and prevent Anemia. For vegans and other vegetarians, it is found in fortified soy products, cereals , yeast, miso, seaweed and in supplements. Iron and Zinc: Iron is essential in red blood cell production and is found in dried beans, peas, lentils, cereals, whole grains, dried fruit and dark, leafy vegetables.

By Dr Anjali Mukerjee, nutritionist