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Vegans are at higher risk for heart disease

Vegans are at higher risk for heart disease

People who follow a vegan lifestyle, which is a more restricted vegetarianism, without meat consumption and any kind of animal derivative - such as eggs or milk - have a high risk of developing blood clots, or hardening of the arteries, conditions that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

The study on the subject was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and is the result of an analysis of dozens of published articles on the biochemistry of The researchers say diets often have a deficiency in essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, vegans tend to have elevated levels of homocysteine ​​in their blood and decreased levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol. Both are risk factors for heart disease.

It is concluded that there is a strong scientific basis for vegetarians and vegans to begin adding omega-3s and vitamin B12 in their diets. Good sources of omega-3s include salmon and other oily fish, nuts and some other nuts. Good sources of vitamin B12 include seafood, eggs and fortified milk. Dietary supplements can also provide these nutrients.

Vegetarian diet should include vitamin B12, iron and calcium

Vegetarianism has gained space around the world. Many people have been avoiding eating animal foods (milk and dairy products, meat, eggs) in favor of vegetables. "Health benefits are the main reasons that lead many people to adopt this type of nutrition," says nutritionist Karina Gallerani. Red meat has significant amounts of saturated fats and can cause serious heart health problems, as well as high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

However, one should be aware that the adoption of a vegetarian diet does not necessarily makes a person healthier. "Our body also needs protein and vitamins in red meat," says Karina.

Abuse of carbohydrates is another common mistake of vegetarians. Exaggerating breads, cheeses, cakes and sweets can lead to a consumption of saturated fats greater than that of a person who eats meat. "A vegetarian diet needs to be rich in fiber and low-calorie foods to provide all these nutrients," says the nutritionist.

Next, she identifies the most common day-to-day mistakes of those who decided to give up of animal protein and shows how to correct the diet without putting health at risk.

1. Lack of Protein

Great care must be taken in the amount of protein ingested in this diet, since the nutrient of animal origin is the one that has the best absorption by our organism. "The body needs protein to maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs," says Karina. For these cases, preference should be given to other sources of animal protein, such as milk and dairy products and eggs, which is well-liked by ovolacto-vegetarians.

The egg contains several important nutrients for the body, such as fat-soluble vitamins ( A, D, E and K), B vitamins and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium. Milk proteins and their derivatives are easily digested. In addition, they are of high biological value, containing essential amino acids in a balanced and nutritious diet.

Soy-based foods are also often used to meet this need. Other legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas are also great alternatives, as are oleaginous fruits such as Brazil nuts and whole grains. Whole grains are noteworthy since they also have several B vitamins, zinc and iron.

2. Iron deficiency

This is also a nutrient widely commented on vegetarian diets, since the best source of the mineral are animal foods, especially red meat. Karina recalls that iron is an essential nutrient for life and acts primarily in the synthesis of red blood cells and in the transport of oxygen to all cells of the body. "With the lack of iron our immune system becomes depressed, hair loss and nail changes can also occur," says Karina.

It is possible to obtain this mineral through food and vegetable origin, such as legumes (beans, fava beans, chick peas, peas, lentils). However, iron absorption from legumes is mainly lower when compared to iron of animal origin. Food sources of vitamin C potentiate this process. Include guava, orange, kiwi, strawberry, cashew, tomato, acerola or lemon in the same meal.

Another tip is to avoid the consumption of teas, such as black and mate, coffees, , because caffeine and calcium are also components that impair the absorption of the mineral.

3. Lack of vitamin B12

Lack of this nutrient is common among people who do not eat meat, eggs or dairy products. These are called vegans. The problem is that these foods are our sources of vitamin B12, used in the production of red blood cells.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in the body can lead to anemia and neurological changes. In cases of deficiency already installed, oral supplements or injections with large dosage of the vitamin make the replacement of the substance. Vegans can also get vitamin B12 from supplements containing this vitamin, fortified cereals or fortified soy products.

4. Excess carbohydrate

A well-planned vegetarian diet tends to offer a good supply of most minerals and vitamins, as well as balanced amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. However, if the diet is poorly planned, it can contribute to the emergence of nutritional deficiencies and even to excess weight in some cases.

"Who wants to adopt the vegetarian diet and, at the same time, to lose weight, should avoid frying , pasta, foods with fatty sauces oudoces greasy as cakes, pies, creams, chocolates ", recalls the nutritionist. Lack of Calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral for the health of teeth and bones. It is also essential for blood clotting and still has a special role in muscle contraction. Milk and its derivatives are the best source of the mineral. In addition, many new vegetarian foods are enriched with calcium.

"Supplementation is only advised for vegans if they do not meet the need for calcium with food," says Karina. This is because dark green leaves (especially broccoli, cabbage leaves and mustard), walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds also contain calcium.

There are still some food compounds, called prebiotics, nondigestible and that stimulate the growth of a number of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. "These bacteria harmonize the intestinal flora and favor the absorption of calcium," explains Karina. Onions, artichokes, endive, leeks and chicory are foods that encourage the growth of these bacteria.

6. Lack of Zinc

Low zinc intake, present in beef, can also be detected in vegetarian diets. When the mineral is missing, there are skin and hair lesions, loss of taste and infections due to the lower efficiency of the immune system.

Even so, the vegetarian diet can and does provide sufficient amounts of zinc. "Whole grains (wheat bran, wheat germ) as well as beans, legumes in general, seeds (sunflower, linseed, sesame) are good sources of zinc," says the expert.

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