Until a few years ago, people following a vegetarian diet were in the minority. Finding a restaurant serving vegetarian dishes or buying plant-based alternatives for meat products was a challenge. Currently, the situation is completely different and favors people who use this type of diet. You can easily find eateries serving vegetarian dishes, and there are more and more products for vegetarians on store shelves. However, one should remember that an improperly balanced vegetarian diet can contribute to nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, it's time to get to know plants that people on a vegetarian diet should include in their menu.
A vegetarian diet is a fairly general concept because there are several varieties of it. The most popular is the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which requires the elimination of meat and fish, but allows the consumption of eggs, milk, and dairy products. Recently, the vegan diet, which does not contain any animal products, is also becoming more and more popular. Other varieties of a vegetarian diet include, among others lacto-vegetarianism (milk and dairy products are the only allowed animal products) and ovo-vegetarianism (excludes meat, fish, milk, and dairy products, but permits consumption of eggs). One of the newer varieties of the vegetarian diet is semi-vegetarianism, which is divided into pesco-vegetarianism (eggs, dairy products, and fish are allowed) and polo-vegetarianism (it allows the consumption of both eggs and dairy products, as well as poultry). However, semi-vegetarianism raises a lot of controversies. A variation of the vegetarian diet that is gaining popularity, but requires a lot of attention when it comes to providing all the necessary ingredients, is the vegan diet. This type of nutrition model is based solely on plant products.
A properly balanced vegetarian diet can contribute to good health. It helps to control body weight, maintain normal blood cholesterol levels, and may also reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, some ingredients require special attention when balancing this type of diet. These include protein and iron. Below are selected plants that are worth including in a vegetarian diet.
Rośliny strączkowe są bogatym źródłem wielu cennych składników, m.in. białka, błonnika pokarmowego, nienasyconych kwasów tłuszczowych, witamin z grupy B, cynku, żelaza, magnezu i polifenoli. Strączki są jednym z najlepszych źródeł białka wśród wszystkich roślin uprawnych. Zawartość tego ważnego składnika kształtuje się na poziomie 17-40% suchej masy. Najwięcej białka zawiera soczewica i soja, a następnie fasola i groch.
Legumes are a rich source of many valuable ingredients, such as protein, dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, iron, magnesium, and polyphenols. Pods are one of the best sources of protein among all crops as their content is at the level of 17-40% of dry weight. Lentils and soy contain the most protein, beans, and peas only a little less.
Pips and seeds
Pips and seeds are a valuable supplement to a vegetarian diet. We should have no problems including them in the menu. You can add them to cocktails, porridge, salads, homemade bread.
Parsley contains both a large amount of iron and vitamin C. This is especially important as there is no meat in a vegetarian diet, which is a source of more digestible heme iron. Plants contain only non-heme iron, which is less digestible. However, it can be increased by combining foods rich in iron with those that are a good source of vitamin C. The combination of these two ingredients can be found in parsley. That is why it is worth adding to soups, salads, and home vegetable spreads. Parsley can also be added to smoothies (e.g. with banana).
Plants that are worth including in a vegetarian diet are legumes, pips, and seeds (chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds), parsley. When balancing a vegetarian diet, one needs to focus on protein and iron. Their deficiency can lead to worse regeneration of the body, a decrease in immunity, and also iron deficiency anemia.
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