Vegetarian Diet Planning

June 5th, 2009 healthwiki Weight Loss 0

Adopting a healthy vegetarian diet is not as simple as scraping meat off your plate and eating what is left. You need to take extra steps to ensure you are meeting your daily nutritional needs. Find out what you need to know about a plant-based diet.

Vegetarian diet planning
A healthy vegetarian diet consists primarily of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Because the emphasis is on nonmeat food sources, a vegetarian diet generally contains less fat and cholesterol, and typically includes more fiber.

Meat alternatives
Drink fortified soymilk, rice milk or almond milk in place of cow’s milk.

Butter: When sautéing, use olive oil, water, vegetable broth, wine or fat-free cooking spray instead of butter. In baked goods, use canola oil.

Cheese: Use soy cheese or nutritional yeast flakes, which are available in health food stores.

Eggs: In baked goods, try commercial egg replacers a dry product made mostly of potato starch.

Ensuring adequate nutrition
A vegan diet, for example, eliminates food sources of vitamin B-12, as well as milk products, which are a good source of calcium. Other nutrients, such as iron and zinc, are available in a meatless diet, but you need to make an extra effort to ensure they are in yours.

Protein: Your body needs protein to maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Vegetarians who eat eggs or dairy products have convenient sources of protein. Other sources of protein include soy products, meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Calcium: This mineral helps build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Low-fat dairy foods and dark green vegetables, such as spinach, turnip and collard greens, kale, and broccoli, are good sources of calcium. Tofu enriched with calcium and fortified soy milk and fruit juices are other options.

Vitamin B-12: Your body needs vitamin B-12 to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. This vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products, including milk, eggs and cheese. Vegans can get vitamin B-12 from some enriched cereals, fortified soy products or by taking a supplement that contains this vitamin.

Iron: Like vitamin B-12, iron is a crucial component of red blood cells. Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit are good sources of iron. To help your body absorb nonanimal sources of iron, eat foods rich in vitamin C such as strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli at the same time you consume iron-containing foods.

Zinc: This mineral is an essential component of many enzymes and plays a role in cell division and in the formation of proteins. Good sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, nuts and wheat germ.

Since no single food provides all of the nutrients that your body needs, eating a wide variety helps ensure that you get the necessary nutrients and other substances that promote good health.

For Your Eyes

November 25th, 2008 healthwiki Eyes 0

The eyes are amazing windows through which we observe the world. It is responsible for majority of all the information our brain receives and usually we rely on our eye-vision more than any other sense. For a strong vision we need antioxidants, nerve supporters, pigment protectors, cell membrane components, vasodilators and cofactors.

Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic judge that antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C can reduce vision loss in patients with age-related vision impairment called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). These vitamins can protect our eyes from vision-altering free radical damage.

Harvard scientists have found that antioxidant ‘zeaxanthin’ can protect our eyes against ARMD by absorbing blue light which is a part of sunlight. This terrible light is capable of damaging our retinas. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamin A, C, E and Beta-carotene. The yellow vegetables are important for daytime vision.

According to some researchers, green tea has 10 times more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. Green tea contains flavonoid antioxidants that fight free radicals and also prevent age related skin problems.

Garlic and onions are rich in sulfur, which is necessary for the production of glutathione, an important antioxidant for the lens of the eye, and the whole body. Small Fishes and fishes rich with Omega 3 (especially DHA or docosahexaenoic acid) are good for eyes. DHA provides structural support to cell membranes, and is recommended for dry eyes, treatment for macular degeneration, and sight preservation.

Spinach and green leafy vegetables are rich in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxathin. Lutein, a yellow pigment, protects the macula from sun damage and from blue light.

Eggs are rich in cysteine, sulfur, lecithin, amino acids and lutein. Sulfur-containing compounds protect the lens of the eye from cataract formation. Vitamin B Complex is (especially Vitamin B-12) necessary for nerve function. The retinal receptor cells send all their messages through nerve fibers into the optic nerve, and into the brain. These vitamins keep up nerve and general body activities. One of the most common deficiencies in elderly individuals is B12. According to ‘eye specialists’ vitamin B-12 (under the tongue or sublingually) is recommended everyday for people with optic nerve disease or glaucoma.

These days we must be selective in terms of the foods we eat when the soil is contaminated with pesticides and chemicals. And sometimes modern-day diet cannot provide all the answers. We need to be able to add extra constituents to our dietary in order to restore what may have been lost.

Today, there are lots of people who are organised to take care of our eyes. They are ophthalmologist, optometrist and opticians. It depends what kind of eye care we need.

Ophthalmologist is an expert treating medical diseases of the eye. If you are concerned about your glasses – an optometrist is the right person. They are specialists in glasses, contacts, and primary eye care. An optician is somebody who specialises in fitting glasses to our eyes- making lenses, fitting the frames, adjusting the nose pieces.

In developed countries opticians can also be involved in dispensing contact lenses, but they do not prescribe glasses or contacts, and they do not measure or examine eyes.

Dr Rubaiul Murshed…