Monday, January 23, 2012

The Benefits And Risks Of A Vegetarian Diet

 The vegetarian diet in all its complexities can be a very fun and rewarding life style change if done correctly.  When a person is making the decision to go the route of a vegetarian life style there are several things to consider.  As with any diet, too much or too little of one thing can lead to some disastrous consequences.  It is always best to sit down and come up with a plan and do some research before just jumping into such a drastic life style change.  Even with all the proven health benefits of eating a vegetarian diet there are some risks and pitfalls that need to be evaluated and taken seriously when planning a vegetarian meal plan.

Many studies have been done and most studies agree that a diet made up of predominately plant based foods including fruits, vegetables legumes and minimally processed foods if any at all can have some very great health benefits.  Some of those health benefits include lowering cancer risks, lowering heart disease risks, increasing the longevity of life, weight loss and lowering the risk of diabetes and other major health problems.  A report published by the World Cancer Research Fund states that a regular consumption of fruits and vegetables provides significant protection against cancer and heart disease.  A recent survey of 47,000 people showed that the people that followed a vegetarian based diet with very little meat if any at all had a 21% reduced risk of heart attacks versus the non vegetarian people.  A glance around the world will show that some of the longest living populations in the world have diets consisting of very little meat and high contents of fruits, vegetables and grains.  With all of the great health benefits associated with a vegetarian life style it seems hard to believe that there could be any negative risk factors to consider but as with all diets that omit any particular food group there are always going to be risk factors.

One of the biggest pitfalls of a vegetarian diet is poor menu planning which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.  Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies in a vegetarian diet are Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and some basic proteins.  The lack of some of these key nutrients in a persons diet can cause anemia.  Anemia is a condition where the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells.  Red blood cells are what get oxygen around the body.  Without enough healthy red blood cells  a person can become very fatigued, ill and in severe cases even die.  It can also cause irreversible nerve damage.  It is extremely important for anyone considering and maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle to make sure they are getting enough nutrients from their food to avoid these nutrient deficiencies. One way to do this is to have a well balanced menu of many food groups that include Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and proteins.  Vegetarians who do not eat dairy and eggs should combine grains and legumes. such as beans and rice to make a complete protein.  Most plant life in a vegetarian diet will have some protein in it but not enough to make a complete protein, so a well balanced diet is crucial to a vegetarian diets success.

Another way to make sure that a vegetarian diet is staying healthy and not becoming nutrient deficient is with vitamin supplements.  If you are concerned that you might not be getting enough of the vital nutrients your body needs, taking a vitamin supplements can help maintain a healthy nutrient level.  Your body will not absorb the supplements as well as if it were the real thing but it can still help give your body what it needs to maintain healthy red blood cells.

Remember that the goal with a vegetarian life style is to live a long and healthy life.  The best way to do that is with proper food menu planning and some common sense.  Research your menu and make sure you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs.  Have a diet plan rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.  The health benefits of a vegetarian life style are many and the rewards can be great just make sure to keep your diet well balanced so you can keep your new life style choice a healthy one.


  1. This looks very well researched and it was a good read. I like your writing style. I saw your post for feedback on Bloggerdise. You might be interested in this post on how to boost your blog stats:

  2. Thank you Carli Alice for stopping by and reading my blog! I really appreciate it. I am going to check out the link you suggested. Thanks!

  3. I would like to be a vegetarian but there are a few things It would be hard to give up., my very carnivorous hubby would def have a problem. Still I try to include lots of veggie meals in our diet and they never complain! New follower from Finding friends weekend hop.

  4. Vegetables contain many essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, E and K, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Eating yellow and orange vegetables like carrots can get you plenty of Vitamin A to maintain the clarity of your vision and prevent night blindness.