What is a vegetarian diet?

Vegetarian diet: Vegetarian diet is a kind of diet that focuses on plants for food. People who follow vegetarian diets can get all the nutrients they need. Well planned vegetarian diets can be both nutritious and healthy.

There are several kinds of vegetarian diets:
  • The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts. 
  • The lactovegetarian diet includes plant foods plus cheese and other dairy products exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
  • The ovo-lactovegetarian diet exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs.
  • The ovo-vegetarian diet exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.
  • Semi-vegetarians don't eat red meat but include chicken and fish with plant foods, dairy products and eggs. 

Diet plans
Vegetarian diet pyramid

You can follow any type of vegetarian diet but should include a wide variety of foods and enough calories to meet your energy needs. You also keep in mind:
  • Eating sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are low in nutrients and high in calories.
  • Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or enriched cereal products.
  • Use a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
  • If you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat varieties.
Benefits of a vegetarian diet: Well planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of life. There are many benefits to eating a vegetarian diet:
  • A vegetarian diet can be healthier than other diets.
  • Some people think it's wrong to use animals for food.
  • Some religions forbid eating meat.
  • A vegetarian diet can cost less than a diet that includes meat.
  • Eating less meat can be better for the environment, because most meat is commercially farmed.
  • Some people don't like the taste of meat.
Vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.

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