Mentions of a plant-based diet are found in Egyptian papyri from the fourth to fifth centuries B.C. Today, 10% of the world’s population adheres to this dietary system. What are the risks we should consider before joining the vegetarians?
Animal products are generous with vitamin D, which has a hormone-like effect. It stimulates the synthesis of cholesterol, from which sex hormones are built. It determines the onset of pregnancy, and it also prevents early menopause.
Soy products, abundant in plant-based menus, impair sperm quality because they contain phytoestrogens, which are similar in action to female sex hormones. Doctors don’t m recommend switching to vegetarianism for men with insufficient numbers of active sperm.
To prevent vitamin D deficiency, get it from natural sources – mushrooms (chanterelles, morels) and seaweed. But you probably cannot do without dietary supplements.
Try not to overdo it with sunscreens during summer. Vitamin D is naturally synthesized under ultraviolet radiation.
If you are planning a pregnancy, take a test for this vitamin every three months, in the normal course – once every six months. For acute deficiency, the doctor may prescribe a high therapeutic dosage of 5,000 international units or more. Such doses are often accompanied by the addition of vitamin K2 in the form of MK7 – it allows vitamin D to be adequately absorbed.
Vitamin D increases receptor sensitivity to the “happiness hormones” – dopamine and serotonin. In northern countries, the daylight hours are shorter, especially during the cold season, which brings a gloomy mindset.
Vegetarians who give up fish also lack omega-3 fatty acids, which are involved in building cell membranes and protective membranes covering the outgrowths between neurons, reducing system-wide inflammation, including at the level of nervous tissue.
To prevent omega-3 deficiency, vegetarians take eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids from algae. It’s a good idea to stock up on hemp oil with the optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
Lack of polyunsaturated fatty acids can be seen by C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. There is also an omega-3 index test, which shows the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the body.
B vitamins, particularly B12 and choline, also support the strength of the mind. B12 is found only in animal products, with the exception of seaweed. It’s advisable to check its concentration in the blood every six months.
Choline, formerly known as vitamin B4 and now called a vitamin-like substance like omega-3 is part of cell and nerve sheaths and has an anti-anxiety effect. Moreover, it acts as a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is essential for reliable memory, laser concentration and academic success, physical endurance and rapid recovery after exercise.
According to a study involving 54,998 people and nearly eighteen years of follow-up, vegetarian practitioners have a higher risk of fractures, including those of the femoral neck. This is apparently due to a lack of vitamin D, which regulates calcium metabolism, and calcium itself, which is conservatively derived from dairy products, which are only allowed in some areas of vegetarianism.
To avoid calcium deficiency, include plant sources of calcium in your menu: seaweed, winged beans, mustard and baobab fruit powder, parsley, dill, rye bran, soybean meal, seeds (mustard, soy, sunflower, canola, sesame, poppy, chia seeds). Steam and grind the seeds to absorb the mineral better.
The age-associated loss of muscle mass and strength – sarcopenia – essentially begins with a protein deficiency. In this case, the intestinal mucosa flakes off, giving us the missing amino acids, and the muscles do the same. At the same time, hair and nails suffer and collagen production slows down. Over the years, muscle tissue is replaced by fatty tissue, and this dysfunctional layer, itself hormonally active, interferes with the already unbalanced processes.
Animal protein is more balanced in its composition of essential amino acids. Moreover, plant foods contain inhibitors of proteases, the enzymes that break proteins down into amino acids. The fact that plant proteins are encased in a coating of fiber also makes it difficult. Add hypochlorhydria – a decrease in the production of hydrochloric acid by the glands of the stomach – and you have a weak body that spends its weekends in couch potato mode.
Avoiding it is as easy as playing at an online casino with these tips:
- Take cereal foods along with enzyme preparations that stimulate protein breakdown.
- Soak and sprout whole, unsteamed cereals and legumes – this also makes it easier to absorb vegetarian protein.
- Alternate beans, add seeds of all stripes to salads – get the amino acids from multiple plant sources.
- Vegetables have fewer protease inhibitors (like broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables) – eat them as a separate meal along with olive or hemp oil.
- If necessary, make up for hydrochloric acid deficiencies with Betaine Hydrochloride or apple cider vinegar before meals.
- Use sports nutrition with protein isolates if what they are made of fits the standards of your vegetarian direction.
- Undergo bioimpedance testing, which shows the ratio of body fat to muscle mass, and anthropometric measurements.
- Take regular sports.
- Take a biochemical blood test every six to nine months – this includes a measure of total protein.
Vitamin D and zinc are immune protectors. Proteins go to the synthesis of antibodies. All of these, as we have already realized, are lacking for beginning vegetarians.
Alternative food sources of zinc:
- Butter mushrooms,
- Sesame seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, cottonseed.
- Algae, seaweed.
- Bran (wheat, rice, rye, oatmeal).
- Beans, especially black beans, and winged beans.
The bioavailable forms of zinc in supplements are chelated (e.g., bisglycinate). The chelated minerals are combined with amino acids to help the macro- and micronutrients easily incorporate into the metabolic process.
Protein and fats provide a sense of satiety longer because they are digested more slowly. When their intake is reduced, beginners at first have a craving for sugar, desserts, and fruit. So switch to a new eating style smoothly and lean on legumes, nuts, seeds – protein and fatty foods. Give preference to complex carbohydrates in the form of vegetables.
The digestibility of heme iron of animal origin is up to 35%, non-heme iron from plant sources up to 20%. Not only is vegetarian iron less digestible, but the phytic acid in grains, beans, and nuts binds it and excretes it prematurely. Moreover, the tannins and polyphenols in tea and coffee contribute to the formation of iron and tannate compounds, inhibiting the absorption of this trace element.
Soaking legumes increases iron absorption. Vitamins C and A, organic acids from fruits and vegetables (citric, malic, lactic, tartaric) work in the same direction. Take cofactors into account when adapting recipes and in your own culinary experiments.
Once every six months, take a general blood test to monitor red blood cell and hemoglobin levels, and check for ferritin, a protein complex that forms the intracellular iron supply.
Beginners experience abdominal bloating and gas because of a lack of the natural enzymes found in meat. The aggressive substances in legumes, lectins, increase the permeability of the intestinal wall, making it difficult to metabolize vitamins and minerals. Finally, plant foods have few buffer proteins to neutralize the effects of acid on the stomach mucosa, setting the stage for gastritis.
How to help the gastrointestinal tract:
- Take a general blood test – the eosinophil count can be used to track food sensitivities to new foods.
- Take a co-program (fecal analysis) – you can see the number of beneficial bacteria designed to cope with the increased amount of fiber.
- Add natural probiotics to your diet – whole fermented soy tempeh, sauerkraut, pickles.
- For the first three months, eat mostly cooked food, as it’s easier for the intestines to handle, then gradually add raw food while maintaining a proportion of heat-treated food (this makes sense – for example, a baked tomato gives more lycopene than a fresh one).
- See a gastroenterologist if you have any suspicious symptoms.
Beauty is supported by omega-3 and vitamin A, and they are rich in animal sources. Vitamin A has an antioxidant function, serves as a companion to another beauty vitamin, E, and prevents flaking and cracking.
The precursor of vitamin A, beta-carotene, is present in plant foods:
- Berries and fruits (goji, bird cherry, rowanberries, rosehips, apricots, apricots, apricots, persimmons).
- Herbs (garlic, parsley, celery, spinach, dill, ramson, sorrel, seaweed, onions, cilantro).
- Vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, peppers).
But you will have to eat more beta-carotene to produce enough active vitamin A (retinol). Keep in mind that beta-carotene and retinol supplements must come with dietary fats – vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin.