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Best foods for a healthy vegetarian diet

Best foods for a healthy vegetarian diet

Vegetarians can benefit from being super-healthy, with lower blood pressure than their carnivorous counterparts.

But unless you’re eating the right things, it’s easy to end up stuffing yourself silly with crisps, snacks and unhealthy quick fixes.

Substituting meat is seen as tricky for a lot of people, but with such a range of vegetarian alternatives nowadays, there’s no reason why today’s veggies shouldn’t be lean, mean, fitness machines.

Omitting meat from a diet means a lack of protein, B vitamins, zinc and whole host of other nutrients. But there are some foods out there – strictly sans animal product that will keep you in fine fettle.

TOFU – Although tofu has the “like it or loathe” it trait, it is hugely versatile and keeps it shape while cooking. It contains protein, zinc and iron, with some omega-3 fatty acids. You can often treat it as you would meat, and you can flavour it easily.

SEAWEED – Don’t panic, you won’t need to grab your bucket and spade and head for the nearest beach, the types of seaweed we’re referring to are the edible varieties already harvested and processed for your needs and available from health food shops, Japanese and Korean markets, and some supermarkets. Seaweed, including varieties such as kelp, nori, spirulina and alaria, contain stacks of iron and phytochemicals, and pack a mean mineral punch with magnesium, calcium, iodine, iron and chromium.

LENTILS – Not just for hippies, like beans, lentils are part of the legume family and provide protein and fibre. They contain twice as much iron as your average bean and are packed with vitamin B and folate. Lentils also win out over beans as they tend to result in less gas!

NUTS -  It’s been said that nuts can help with weight loss, and they are super good for you, with vitamin E, zinc and protein all part of their CV. They make a great snack, or sprinkled over a meal such as noodles and stir fries.

VEGETABLES – Erm, yes, we know – obvious right? Well, as veggies, you should be eating stacks of veg. Nobody needs to tell you how great they are because the benefits are so well documented. Leafy green ones are the best.

 

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