What Is a Vegetarian Diet?A vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, and foods containing these products. There are many different variations of the vegetarian diet. This article focuses on the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which is based on plant foods, but also includes eggs and dairy.
Why Follow a Vegetarian Diet?There are many health benefits associated with following a vegetarian diet. In general, vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, and provide higher amounts of many vitamins and minerals than traditional western diets. Moreover, a well-balanced vegetarian diet may help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve cholesterol profile
- Reduce body mass index
- Reduce the risk of certain diseases, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, and colon cancer
Vegetarian Diet BasicsA lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet is based on plant foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, and nuts, in addition to dairy and eggs. To make sure that you meet all your nutrient needs on this diet, be sure to eat a variety of each of these types of foods. Nutrients that deserve extra attention to make sure they are eaten in sufficient amounts include: protein, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating Guide for a Vegetarian DietThis guide is based on the United States Department of Agriculture food guide, ChooseMyPlate.
|Food Category||Key Suggestions||Key Nutrients Provided|
|Grains|| || |
|Vegetables|| || |
|Fruits|| || |
|Milk|| || |
|Protein Rich Foods|| || |
|Fats and Sweets|| |