Increasing awareness and availability of vegetarian nutrition has led to an increase in the number of people opting vegetarianism or veganism. And today, more people are looking for sources of nutrition for vegetarians to add to their healthy diet schedule.
As we talked about nutrition in the first blog, we will now cover the sources of nutrition for vegetarians. But let’s recap what we know about nutrition quickly.
Nutrition is the process of taking in healthy food and using it for growth, metabolism, and repair. In the form of food, we take nutrients: macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water. And micronutrients include minerals such as calcium, iron, iodine, vitamins and antioxidants.
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It is often said that vegetarians miss animal-based protein. And vegans avoid dairy products as well. So there is always a discussion about whether a veg diet provides full nutrition or not.
The reason for this discussion is that vegetarian foods are not whole in themselves. Some foods are protein rich, while some are rich in specific micronutrients and some in carbs and fats.
The solution to this is plate mixing i.e. including a variety of foods in your plate. Like fruits and legumes, various types of grains like millet, oats, brown rice and barley collectively known as whole grains. This plate mixing and rotation of foods throughout seasons complete the nutritional requirement for our body as well as maintains the variety of taste so one doesn’t get bored.
So which of these foods provides which nutrient and how to manage your plate?
This is what we are going to talk about here.
Are you ready?
Carbohydrates – Sources of Nutrition
Carbohydrates are the primary sources of our energy. Vegetarians’ food is generally carbohydrate rich but choosing a good type of carbohydrate is necessary. Carbohydrates are of two types. Simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are easy to digest by our body whereas complex carbs take time but they provide long lasting energy and increase metabolism.
The best veg healthy foods that are good sources of carbohydrate are:
- Unprocessed starchy sources
- Sweet potato
- Dairy foods
- Whole Grains
- Brown rice
- Whole fruits (sweet fruits generally)
Carbs are a necessary part of nutrition so avoid the overdose but consume enough of them.
TIP: Do not sieve the flour, it’ll retain fibre content for your food.
Proteins are made of amino acids, essential and non- essential. They are formed inside plants as well as animals. Those produced in the human body are non-essential as their requirement can be fulfilled by our body if we provide enough calories and other nutrients to it. However, our body requires essential proteins and a plant-based diet are enough for healthy living as well as body-building. Hence, vegetarian sources of protein include:
- Legumes and pulses (rich in lysine)
- Soy products
- Nuts and nut butter
- Dairy products (rich in casein and whey protein)
- Cereals, roots and tubers (rich in methionine)
More and more celebrities who once vouched for meat and eggs for strength requirements are now shifting to vegetarianism or veganism. Robert Parish, one of the greatest NBA players is proud of his yoga and vegetarian lifestyle. He stands at an amazing 7 foot high with a career of 21 seasons.
I guess it’s more than enough. Don’t you think the same?
As like carbs, fats are energy sources but they also help the body in inner lubrication and many other things. And there are three types of fats: unsaturated, saturated and trans-saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are the healthy fats out of the three. In the terms of fats, we get enough from our normal diet. Just use vegetable oils and reduce butter and fast foods.
Macronutrients done. Let’s move to micronutrients and hey,
Pay attention here as they are the one causing most troubles because they affect the usage of macronutrients by our body.
Needed for → Bones and teeth
Found in → Dairy products
Green and leafy vegetables
Soy and tofu
- Needs his friend vitamin D for working.
Needed for → Transportation of oxygen
Found in → Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, Soybeans, Pulses, Dried fruits, Fortified cereals
Needed for →
Found in →
Carrots, Pumpkin, Milk, Green leafy Vegetables, Tomato
Needed for → Nerve cells and body cells
Found in → Dairy products
Vitamin C – Sources of Nutrition
Needed for →
Promote tissue growth and absorption of iron
Found in →
Orange, Plum, Amla, Papaya, Mustard Spinach,
Needed for → Absorption of calcium
Found in → Dairy Products
There are many other nutrients whose requirements are generally fulfilled by the diet made considering these major nutrients. For eg., sodium and iodine are provided enough by daily salt consumption.
It’s evident that even the number of choices of sources for some nutrients are very limited for vegetarians; a healthy survival is possible and very easy. You have to just choose wisely and include various nutrients in your diet by including a variety of foods. Green vegetables and fresh fruits are packed with many nutrients so include them in your daily routine. Keep drinking enough water for better assimilation of nutrients. These were the vegetarian sources for nutrition and stay in touch with us for more healthy bits.