Vegetarians need more vitamins for heart health

 
By Staff Writer • Published: July 31st, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Vegans and vegetarian diets boast benefits like lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, lower body mass index and even silkier skin. Vegetarians avoid meat and fish and vegans swear off eating animal products of any kind, including eggs, dairy and butter. But abstaining from animal eats doesn’t have to mean suffering a diet of deprivation. Both vegetarians and vegans can still enjoy tasty food like veggie burgers, potato pasta and vegan desserts.

According to one study, though, vegetarians, and especially vegans, lack two crucial nutrients: vitamin B12 and omega-three fatty acids. These deficiencies, curiously, contribute to high cholesterol and higher blood levels of an amino acid called homocysteine … a risk factor for heart disease. Veggie-only eaters also had lower levels of good cholesterol.

Vegetarians and vegans do reap particular benefits from a plant-based diet, though. Their diets are naturally packed with fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E and cancer-fighting antioxidants. But they are also low in total fat and saturated fat, cholesterol, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Those who shun fare made from fauna can have their nutrition and eat it, too. They just have to plan their diets wisely.

Dietitians recommend vegetarians eat fortified cereals and drink soy, rice or almond milks to bulk up their vitamin B12 intake.

Omega-3s can be found in plenty of plant-based foods, like soy and even broccoli and cauliflower.

Whatever you eat, include two-point-four micrograms daily of vitamin B12. Men should consume one-point-six grams of omega 3s daily and women should take in one-point-one grams.

Heart health can come in many forms of food, whether you prefer dining on plants or provisions from pastures.