Vegetarian Nutrition: How to get optimal nutrition

For those who for various reasons have chosen a vegetarian diet is very important to plan carefully to food consumption, so your body get the nutrients needed for proper functioning of organs and systems.

The key concern is to ensure the body’s nutritional needs.

There are several types of vegetarian diets:

– Vegan, which excludes meat, fish, dairy and eggs, and products containing these foods

Lacto-vegetarian excludes meat, fish and eggs, allowing the consumption of dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian, who excluded meat and fish, eggs and dairy consumption allowing

Semi vegetarian, which is a diet based on vegetables, but with occasional small amounts of meat, fish, dairy, eggs

Specialist in nutritional diseases and diabetes, Dr. Mihaela Ursache at Delta Hospital says that “a balanced vegetarian diet should be properly planned and vegetarian food pyramid can be a useful tool in this respect.

This includes the categories of foods and appropriate portions to ensure healthy vegetarian diet. ”

Optimum vegetarian nutrition is key to ensuring food varieties. 

No single food can provide all nutrientiide body needs. 

The more restrictive a diet is, the more difficult is getting the necessary nutrients. 

For example, a vegan diet eliminates food sources containing vitamin B12 and those containing calcium, such as dairy.

Thus, it becomes very important to obtain adequate amounts of the following nutrients:

1- Calcium

Calcium provides structure and strength of bones, teeth. 

Milk and dairy products low in fat are the richest sources of calcium. 

Green leafy vegetables provide calcium if consumed in sufficient quantities. 

Sesame seeds contain calcium in amounts satisfactory. 

Products with added / fortified with calcium, such as cereals, soy milk and tofu are also options.


Component of thyroid hormones that participate in regulating metabolism, growth, organ function – brain, heart, kidneys and of course, the thyroid

Vegans are at risk of deficiency of this element and hypothyroidism. 

In addition, foods such as soy, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and sweet potatoes can increase / trigger hypothyroidism. 

Consumption of iodized salt can provide this trace (1/4 teaspoon daily provides enough iodine).


Iron is essential for red blood cell formation, favoring the installation of iron deficiency iron deficiency anemia. 

Dried legumes beans, peas and dried fruits contain iron

Because iron vegetable can be better absorbed and used, the recommended dose of iron for vegetarians is almost double non vegetarian. 

To help your body absorb iron, eat foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus, strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli and foods fortified with iron.

READ : Why is cabbage soup good for you?


Zinc is an essential component of many enzymes in the body and plays an important role in cell division and formation of structural proteins

Like iron, zinc is not absorbed properly compared to animal sources. 

Cheese is a good option in this regard. 

Vegetable sources include whole grains, soy products, vegetables, oilseeds and wheat germ.

5-Omega 3 

Omega 3 are important for cardiovascular health and for development and optimal functioning of organs, eyes and brain. 

Vegetarian diet which includes fish and eggs is generally low in active forms of omega-3 fats.

Because the conversion and use of omega-3 fats from plant sources is inefficient, you must eat foods fortified with omega 3 capsules or supplements.

6-Vitamin B12 

B12 is necessary for the formation elements sanghine cells, preventing anemia megaloblastic Biermer. 

This vitamin is found exclusively in animal products and therefore is difficult to obtain from the strict vegan diet.

Vitamin B12 deficiency may be asymptomatic for vegans, because it is rich in folic acid up to the level where severe symptoms, neurological. 

For this reason it is important to supplement with this vitamin and eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 (cereals, fortified soy).

7-Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is important for healthy bones, teeth and functioning of the immune system. 

Dairy products are good sources of vitamin D, and some foods with added vitamin D (important to read the label) – soy milk, cereal and margarine. 

Supplementation with vitamin D2 (plant derived) or vitamin D3 (obtained from animal sources, with higher efficiency than that of vegetable origin), correct deficiency of this vitamin if already installed.


Macronutrients are very important in maintaining muscle structure, organs, bones and skin and immune system function.

There are several amino acids that our body can synthesize them and others who must supplement the diet. 

Advice of the protein intake for adults is at least 0.8 grams protein per kilogram of body weight. 

Thus, for an adult of 70 kg, minimum requirement of protein is 56 grams protein. 

Animal foods (meat, fish, dairy, eggs) are the most concentrated sources of protein and amino acids needed by the body may provide that the maximum biodisponibiliate, considering their sources of protein. 

One hundred grams of meat or fish contains about 20 grams protein. 

There are vegetables that contain protein, along with fiber, vitamins and minerals. 

The only limitation is that they are considered complete proteins because it provides the necessary amino acids. 

The only vegetable source of complete protein with optimal digestibility is soy. 

Beans, nuts and oilseeds, grains and cereals are sources of vegetable protein. 

To optimize the availability of amino acids is necessary to combine these foods, eg cereals with legumes. 

Another food of vegetable origin with optimal protein content is quinoa.

American Dietetic Association (ADA) and Canadian Dietetic Organization believes that “a well-planned vegetarian diet is favorable to health, adequate in terms of nutrition, bringing benefits in terms of prevention and treatment of certain chronic diseases”, unless you pay more attention food we eat.[1]

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