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...Healthy Vegetables...

  1. Why are Vegetables Healthy?
  2. I am a vegetarian - how can I make sure that I get enough iron?
  3. Since becoming a vegetarian, I have gradually gained weight. What can I do?
  4. Are there any vegetarian sources of the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish?

1. Why are Vegetables Healthy? Page Top
Vegetables are healthy because they are low in saturated and total fat, high in dietary fibre and complex carbohydrate, and high in protective minerals and vitamins.
Research proves that eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day has very real health benefits. It can help to prevent heart diseases and some cancers.
2. I am a vegetarian - how can I make sure that I get enough iron? Page Top
If your diet does not include meat or fish, extra care is needed to make sure it isn’t lacking in iron. A well-planned vegetarian diet can include iron-rich foods, such as:
• Pulses such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, soya beans
• Green vegetables, such as watercress, broccoli, spring greens and okra
• Wholemeal bread
• Eggs
• Fortified breakfast cereals
• Dried fruit, such as prunes, apricots, figs, sultanas
• Nuts such as peanuts, almonds and brazils
3. Since becoming a vegetarian, I have gradually gained weight. What can I do? Page Top
Are you replacing the meat in your diet with cheese? This in itself could be making you gain weight, as cheese is generally high in fat.
Here are some tips to counter the tendency to gain:
• Eat more complex carbohydrates (starchy foods, like bread, pasta, potatoes and cereals), especially wholemeal or wholegrain versions when you feel the need for a snack. They’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer.
• Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (one glass of fruit juice a day can be counted as one of your portions), to ensure a good supply of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
• Eat more rice, bread, pasta and potatoes as part of your main meal. Opt for brown or wholemeal bread and brown rice. They’re more filling, and help satisfy hunger for longer.
• Good sources of protein for vegetarians are Quorn, tofu or pulses (beans, lentils or peas). For more vegetarian meal ideas see the recipe section.
• Opt for the reduced fat or low calorie varieties of dairy products and try drinking semi-skimmed or skimmed milk.
• Avoid fried foods.
• Make sure you exercise on most days, not only to lose weight but to help you maintain your ideal weight once you reach it, and to stay healthy.
4. Are there any vegetarian sources of the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish? Page Top
Some omega 3 fatty acids are found in certain vegetable oils, such as linseed, flaxseed, walnut and rapeseed, but they aren't the same type of fatty acids found in fish.
The omega 3 fatty acids in fish have been shown to help protect against coronary heart disease.
The type of fatty acids found in vegetable sources may not have the same benefits as those in fish.

The Medical Guide is for information only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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