The world is today witnessing a renewed interest in vegetarian diets, far from being the latest fad vegetarianism is here to stay. And why not? It has many benefits which a non-vegetarian diet fails to provide.
A diet of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and fruits is consistently associated with lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, less obesity and consequently less heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and mortality.
Nuts & seeds, pulses, wholegrain and grain products and soya products all supply protein. eating a balanced diet of plant foods will provide all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts.
Essential fatty acids like linoleic and a-linolenic are important for cell membrane function, cholesterol metabolism and can be obtained from vegetable oils,chiefly soyabean and rapeseed
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is important in converting protein, fats and carbohydrates into energy, and the synthesis and repair of body tissues. Good sources of riboflavin include whole grains, mushrooms, almonds, leafy green vegetables and yeast extracts. Fermented soya products, seaweeds and algae such as spirulina have all been proposed as containing significant amounts of Vitamin B12 which is important in the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of a healthy nervous system.
Good calcium sources include tofu, leafy green vegetables, watercress, dried fruit, seeds and nuts.
Seaweeds are a good source of iodine, and vegetables and grains can contain iodine depending on the amounts in the soil.