Healthy lifestyle practices often incorporate practices that aim to make the individual more fit and active. Apart from physical activities, diet constitutes an integral part in contributing to health and wellness.
The standard or regular diet comprises foods like vegetables, poultry products, meats, fishes, fruits, etc. However, meat, typically red meat, is associated with numerous heart ailments. So, when you decide to forgo the non-vegetation version, there is enough room for vegetarian foods.
You have a healthy intake of more fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, and other animal by-products. Some people even opt for a vegetarian diet to support the cause of animal rights and environmental concerns.
So, the question arises is the vegetarian diet really healthy compared to the traditional regular diet? Does it really contribute to the wellness and longevity of life?
Let’s understand the scenario of a regular diet vs a vegetarian diet and the risk factors associated with the two.
A well-planned vegetarian diet incorporates all the proteins and vitamins that are essential for the well-being of the body. However, it misses out on an essential vitamin B-12 that is naturally found in animal-based foods like meat, fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy-oriented products.
So, to get an adequate balance of vitamin B-12, you need to search for fortified foods and supplements. It is essential; otherwise, there can be deficiency within the body, often leading to hormonal imbalances.
Omega 3 Fats
Check out your healthy Omega 3 fats which you might be missing in your vegetarian diet. It’s true that flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and others provide omega-three fatty acids but cannot substitute for the diet’s lack of seafood.
The potent omega-three fatty acids contribute to good heart health conditions. The once found in the cold water fishes like sardines and salmon are enriched in quality compared to the plant-based sources.
LDL Cholesterol in Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarian diets indeed have numerous health benefits, but avoiding non-vegetarian foods doesn’t automatically render the advantage. If you rely on a vegetarian diet such as refined grains, sweet beverages, and solid fats, it can be equally unhealthy and harmful, just like red meat.
For instance, consuming vegetarian foods like donuts and french fries will raise the level of bad LDL cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol levels in the body. Many vegetarians simply struggle for reducing body weight for excessive intake of carbohydrates that fluctuate the insulin levels.
Soy Products Vs Animal Products
Soy products were assumed to be the best and most healthy vegetarian food items. However, recent studies have revealed that soy is related to malnutrition, cancer, heart diseases, reproduction disorders, digestive distress, thyroid function, and many.
Genetically modified soy products have devastating health effects. Even organically cultivated soybeans have antinutrients like soy toxins, phytates, goitrogens, saponins, etc. At the same time, animal products like fish and egg can be a much healthier alternative. It is particularly important for muscle maintenance and development.
A vegetarian diet can be nutritionally superior compared to a regular diet if the person is familiar with a way of healthy eating. This is equally applicable for a regular diet a person is consuming.
The individual must educate himself/ herself on obtaining the precise amount of protein, vitamin, fibre, and healthy fats that are available in both plant and animal-based food.