A guide on how to live a vegetarian lifestyle in a healthy way so you don't miss any nutrients

A guide on how to live a vegetarian lifestyle in a healthy way so you don't miss any nutrients

Going veggie doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the nutrients and vitamins you can find in meat
Junior Reporter
Lover of good books, movies and music.

As awareness of the environmental, health and animal welfare issues the world is suffering increases, more people than ever before are turning their backs on meat and considering a vegetarian lifestyle. Done right, going veggie can be great for your health – but people often don’t realise what the alternatives are for sourcing the nutrients they were getting from meat. As a result, people can end up with nutrient deficiencies and might not feel the health benefits that their new diet should be bringing. Fortunately, finding the nutrients you need in all things plant-shaped is easier than you think – staple vegetarian foods like tofu, eggs, milk and beans all serve as great substitutions for meat when it comes to getting your daily dose of vitamins!

We’ve compiled a table to show you the nutrients that vegetarians need to find a source of, and what foods you should be eating to boost your body’s immune system.


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Protein

What it does:
Keeps you healthy and repairs body tissue.

Sources
• Legumes (peas, beans, etc – especially black beans and lentils)
• Eggs
• Tofu

Recommended daily amount:
For a teen, 0.8 grams per kilogram of your weight.
For example: if you weigh 50kg the recommended daily amount of protein would be the equivalent of: 2 eggs, 1 slice of whole wheat bread, 1 portion of tofu and 1 portion of lentils

Deficiency leads to:
A form of malnutrition called Kwashiorkor, which causes your stomach to bloat.


Iron

What it does:
Helps increase red blood cell production and the formation of haemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen around your body.

Sources
• Dried fruits
• Legumes
• Dark leafy greens (e.g. spinach)
• Eggs

Recommended daily amount:
16.3mg/day = 2 eggs, 1 serving of spinach, ½ cup of raisins and 1 cup of cooked beans

Deficiency leads to:
Anaemia, which is when you don’t have enough red blood cells. This means they can’t get enough oxygen to your organs, which leads to you feeling tired because your organs aren’t functioning at their best.


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Zinc

What it does:
Boosts the immune system, and helps fight off attacks by viruses and germs.

Sources
• Soybeans and soy milk
• Eggs
• Yoghurt
• Mushrooms
• Lentils

Recommended daily amount:
8mg/day for girls and 9mg/day for boys = 1 serving of spinach, 1 serving of chickpeas and 1 bowl of brown rice

Deficiency leads to:
Hair loss, a lack of appetite and a weak immune system.


Vitamin B12

What it does:
Helps to produce red blood cells and keeps them healthy.

Sources
• Marmite
• Cereals
• Eggs

Recommended daily amount:
2.4 mg/day = 5 teaspoons of Marmite

Deficiency leads to:
Memory loss, a lack of mobility and increased irritability.


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Vitamin D

What it does:
Helps the body to absorb calcium from food.

Sources
• Eggs
• Orange Juice
• Cow’s milk

Recommended daily amount:
600 IU/day (International Units) = 6 cups of milk

Deficiency leads to:
Rickets, which is when your bones become soft and brittle.


Calcium

What it does:
Helps to form strong healthy bones and teeth.

Sources
• Dairy foods like milk and cheese
• Dark leafy vegetables (spinach, bok choy)
• Fortified soymilk
• Tofu

Recommended daily amount:
1,300mg/day = 2 portions of cheese on toast

Deficiency leads to:
Osteoporosis, which is when your bones become brittle and fracture easily.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Lentils and tofu and eggs, oh my!

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