For most people, eating has become so much more than just big bursts of flavor. It has become the basic foundation of good health. As a result, over the past years we have seen more and more people shift towards healthy eating habits. With the increasing awareness of vegetarianism, more and more people are willing to try and make the change. However, their minds are plagued with a host of questions they face and the answers they are not sure of.
While some describe vegetarian diets as restrictive, others question their nutritional value, and this creates misconceptions. Yasmin Bharusha, founder of Katharos Foods, debunks some common myths about vegetarian diets.
Myth #1: They don’t have enough protein
This is by far one of the most common myths. Research shows that most people need about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of healthy body weight, and this is entirely possible with a vegetarian diet. One can include tofu, lentils, beans, seeds, nuts and whole grains for essential amino acids. Adults, the elderly, or very active children who need more protein can easily do this by increasing their intake of plant foods. Today, we have a range of vegan cheeses that are rich in protein and made with nuts and seeds.
Myth 2: They lack vitamins and minerals
Fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, among other foods are highly nutritious. It contains minerals and vitamins required for a healthy body and mind. Plant-based foods typically contain green leafy vegetables or legumes that are rich in zinc, calcium and iron, or nuts and fruits that contain optimal amounts of vitamins and minerals. Including a variety of plant foods is the best way to ensure a nutritionally rich diet. Having said that, research shows that vegetarians may need to take vitamin B12 supplements, if prescribed by a medical professional.
Myth #3: Plant-based dairy does not contain calcium
One of the biggest misconceptions is that only cow or buffalo milk is the best source of calcium. It’s time to understand that figs and dark leafy vegetables, including spinach, peas, lentils, and nuts, are good sources of calcium. Plus, we have vegan dairy options made with nuts and seeds that increase your calcium intake.
Myth 4: They lack diversity and are restricted
Almost any dish can be turned into a vegetarian or vegan option. Despite popular belief, eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains doesn’t need to be boring or bland. Vegan cheeses are a great choice to recreate that creamy, sticky texture. In fact, vegetarian diets are not restrictive, but they do offer a range of flavors and textures.
Myth 5: They can’t help gain muscle
For fitness enthusiasts, this is a major concern. Scientific studies have shown that protein contributes to building muscle mass and strength, regardless of the source. Research shows otherwise. The Game Changers documentary shows some of the big names like actors Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, race car driver Lewis Hamilton, tennis player Novak Djokovic and basketball player Chris Paul how athletes and non-athletes have benefited from plant-based diets. . The trick is to include the right foods.
Myth 6: A plant-based diet can cause digestive problems
This is a myth, as a vegetarian diet cannot be the only cause of digestive problems. In fact, inflammatory bowel problems are said to be better with a well-planned nutritious diet. Vegetables and fruits are known to improve gut health and reduce many health risks.
Read also: 7 surprising benefits of being vegan
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