Everything you need to know about dietary fiber (Wala system!)
In recent years there has been an increase in the population of vegetarians and vegans in the world and in Israel.
And despite that, it's not certain that everyone knows what the difference is between them.
So first and foremost, for those who don't know, here are the main differences:
a vegetarian diet is characterized by avoiding eating animal meat - chicken, turkey, beef and fish.
A vegan diet also means avoiding any animal food such as eggs, milk and its products and honey.
There are people who are in the range between vegetarianism and veganism
For example, they will not eat animal meat or eggs, but will eat cheese and honey, and there are also "half-bloods" or flextarians who will not eat meat, but will eat fish.
Among the reasons for choosing such a lifestyle are ideological, conscientious and moral reasons, taste preferences, health reasons as well as reasons related to the quality of the environment.
Nutrition that prevents disease
Studies indicate that a balanced vegetarian diet, consumed in an intelligent and properly planned manner, is a diet that can satisfy all nutritional needs throughout the life cycle.
Also, a vegetarian diet has been found to have a health and preventive advantage in the context of diseases related to obesity, such as diabetes and heart disease and various types of cancer.
According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and according to the new food spectrum for a healthy diet, it is recommended to reduce the consumption of animal foods and increase the consumption of legumes such as soybeans, beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans, mash, beans and lupins.
At the same time, it is important to know that when switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, various deficiencies may arise, including iron mineral deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency.
So how can this be completed?
A diet that can satisfy all nutritional needs throughout the life cycle (photo: Alon Mesika)
Iron is an essential and important mineral for the functioning of the human body and, among other things, is a component of hemoglobin.
Each hemoglobin molecule contains 4 iron atoms that carry the oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues.
A lack of iron can cause anemia, fatigue and increased hair loss in the adult.
During critical periods of life such as pregnancy and breastfeeding, early childhood as well as among the elderly, a lack of iron may lead to irreversible damage.
Iron is found in a wide variety of foods, with the most common source being animal food: mainly in internal organs such as liver, beef, turkey, fish and eggs.
Iron is also found in plant foods such as legumes, tofu, natural nuts and almonds, whole grains and leafy vegetables.
Due to the lower bioavailability of iron in a vegetarian diet, the recommended intake levels of iron for vegetarians and vegans are 1.8 times.
In order to increase the absorption of iron from plant sources, it is recommended to combine it with foods rich in vitamin C such as: red and yellow pepper, fresh cabbage salad and citrus fruits.
In cases of iron deficiency, it can be supplemented by an oral supplement.
There are different types and the difference between them is the type of iron and how it is absorbed.
Today there are preparations containing iron in combination with vitamin C.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for the human body and is important for the functioning of the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the creation of DNA as well as the energy production processes.
It is important to know that our body is not able to produce vitamin B12 on its own and it can be consumed mainly in animal nutrition (beef, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and its products). Despite its importance, lack of B12 is common in the Western world in general and in Israel in particular.
A lack of this vitamin may manifest itself in anemia, fatigue and weakness, pain in the oral cavity and tongue, neurological disorders, decreased memory and attention and concentration problems, in severe cases there may be confusion, depression and mental stress.
A lack of vitamin B12 among infants and small children may also lead to growth and development disorders and anemia (see below the table of recommended daily intake of B12 according to age and life stages).
Pregnant women with significant B12 deficiency may experience miscarriages and birth defects.
For vegetarians, considerable amounts of vitamin B12 can be found in dried purple algae (the most common of which is nori algae). In addition, you can find products that have been proactively enriched with this vitamin, such as a significant portion of breakfast cereals (you should read the food labels).
Considerable amounts of vitamin B12.
Algae (Photo: ShutterStock)
It is recommended for people who define themselves as vegetarians or vegans, and also for those who rarely consume animal products, to routinely perform periodic blood tests in order to detect nutritional deficiencies and, if necessary, to consult with a clinical dietician regarding supplementing the deficiencies through nutrition or nutritional supplements as needed.
Shawarma tofu with a vegetable salad with lentils (2 servings)
* Contains 7 mg of iron per serving
300 grams of tofu
a teaspoon of shawarma seasoning
a teaspoon of grilled chicken seasoning
1 onion sliced into slices a
tablespoon of olive oil
Method of preparation:
grate the tofu with a grater,
fry the onion with the oil in a pan until golden,
add the tofu and the seasoning and saute for a few minutes until For the desired browning
, it is recommended to serve alongside a vegetable salad seasoned with lemon juice (to increase the absorption of vegetable iron from the tofu) and enriched with a glass of lentils after cooking.
Efrat Michael Zahavi is a clinical dietitian, Central District, United
Nutrition and diet