Vegan Nutrition Info

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Vegetarian Nutrition

berry desertA vegetarian diet is known to confer a wide range of health benefits. Research has shown vegetarians to suffer less heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, various cancers, diverticular disease, bowel disorders, gall stones, kidney stones, and osteoporosis. Vegetarian diets have also been used in the treatment of various illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and nephrotic syndrome. A 1986 study of matched pairs of vegetarians and non-vegetarians with regard to their general health showed that the vegetarians made 22% of the visits to hospital out-patients of non-vegetarians, and spent a similarly reduced proportion of time in hospital.

A Healthy Vegetarian Diet

A typical vegetarian diet closely matches expert dietary recommendations for healthy eating, being low in saturated fat and high in fibre, complex carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

The 1983 NACNE Report (National Advisory Committee on Nutrition Education) in the UK recommended a reduction in fat intake, particularly saturated fat, and an increased dietary proportion of polyunsaturated fats to saturated fats. An increased intake of complex carbohydrates and fibre and a decreased intake of sugar and salt were also recommended. The World Health Organisation (1990) has similarly recommended a reduced intake of fat and increased consumption of complex carbohydrates. Increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, cereals and legumes (pulses) is also recommended.

Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in total fat. Vegetarians also tend to eat proportionally more polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat compared with non-vegetarians. Animal products are the major sources of dietary saturated fat.

Further information The EPIC OXFORD Study of the health of vegetarians

Additional vegetarian resources: image, 3 fruits

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