According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, stringent, properly planned vegetarian diets can be healthy, nutritionally full, and can provide benefits in the prevention, reduction and treatment of chronic diseases through all stages of life.
Vegetarian diets have been linked to lower levels of obesity, lower risk of cardiovascular disease and decreased total mortality. Vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians display reduced cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, and lessened rates of hypertension, and certain types of cancer.
Vegetarians (2.3% of the population in the U.S., approximately 4.9 million people)
generally consume less overall calories, less calories from fat (particularly saturated fat) and cholesterol; consume more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, soy products, fiber, than non-vegetarians.
However, because mineral levels in common foods are more than 400% less than in the 1920s, even the most vigilant about their diets are falling short on minerals. (1)
This article was written as a ‘Mineral Guide’ for individuals choosing a vegetarian lifestyle. Just as a car comes with a manual to shed light on, and pre-empt problems, by listing causes and warning signs, this write up can be used in the same way, but for your body.
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- J. Marler and J. Wallin. Human Health, the Nutritional Quality of Harvested Food and Sustainable Farming Systems, 2006, 1-8.
- Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
- Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, 2012.
- Fletcher RH and Fairfield KM. Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults: Clinical Applications, JAMA. 2002; 287:3127-3129.
- Ruth L. Pike and Myrtle L. Brown. Nutrition: An Integrated Approach. John Wiley & Sons, 1984, p.283