In recent years, more and more people have made the decision to completely give up eating meat. Such a diet can have a positive effect on well-being and indirectly contribute to the preservation of the planet, but there are still significant drawbacks in it. Moreover, for the female half of humanity, it also involves serious health risks. Before you declare yourself a vegetarian, pay attention to the dangers that may await you when switching to a new diet.
Vitamin D deficiency
Although vitamin D is found in some plant foods, one of its vital versions (D3) is found only in animal protein. What happens if the body does not get enough of this vitamin? Bones soften and become brittle, caries develops, teeth become deformed, sleep is disturbed and vision deteriorates. With a low level of vitamin D, irreversible processes begin to occur, which are characterized by visual changes in the skeletal system. When ditching meat, keep in mind that every vegetarian needs a regular intake of vitamins as well as calcium for healthy bones and joints.
Read more: Why does the body need protein and what foods contain it
Zinc is present in all our tissues and organs. However, internal reserves are small. The lack of a microelement instantly affects the state of the whole organism. How to replenish the supply of zinc? By eating its best sources — red meat and offal (kidneys, lungs, liver, tongue, etc.). Yes, zinc is indeed found in some plant foods (cereals, sesame, nuts, pumpkin seeds), but it is meat that contains histicine and cysteine, which stimulate the absorption capabilities of the microelement. In other words, zinc from plants is much worse absorbed.
The consequences of zinc deficiency vary greatly, as a variety of tissues, organs and systems are gradually affected. The most common symptoms are skin rashes, hair loss, eye damage, neurological disorders, decreased immunity, as well as impotence and infertility.
Read more: Top 5 Healthy Nutrition Trends
Anemia is one of the key concerns for vegetarians and vegans. Animal proteins (liver, meat, poultry and fish) are the most powerful source of iron, which is necessary for transporting nutrients with blood cells throughout the body. With anemia, fatigue increases, efficiency decreases, dizziness and headaches bother, shortness of breath appears. In the body, there is a violation of oxidative processes, which, in turn, leads to hypoxia — oxygen starvation of tissues. Treatment of anemia should be comprehensive.
Iron is found in cereals, some vegetables (cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, beets, potatoes) and fruits (grapes, lemon), but no more than 5% of this important trace element is absorbed from plant components. The absorption of iron from plant foods is increased by 3 times if consumed together with animal products.
The source of the formation of estrogens, which are responsible for the normal functioning of the female reproductive system, are animal fats. Of course, vegetable oil, nuts, avocados, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are also rich in valuable fats that are essential for women’s health. However, only with a balanced combination of fats from different sources, including meat, fish and dairy products, can we talk about a woman’s ability to conceive. By the way, here it is worth dispelling the myths about the dangers of cholesterol. In fact, it is indispensable for the synthesis of biologically active substances and sex hormones. If there is not enough fat in the diet of the fair sex, amenorrhea sets in — menstruation stops.
Read more: Benefit or harm? Top 5 Vegetarian Misconceptions
depression and anxiety
As part of a 2012 study, scientists compared the mental health scores of 250 vegetarians and 250 meat eaters. As it turned out, over 30% of vegetarians suffer from stress, while only 13% of meat eaters showed symptoms of an anxiety disorder. The problem lies in the low content of vitamin B12 in plant foods. In addition, vegetarians have to worry about how their eating habits will be perceived by others, what to order in a restaurant, what to replace meat with and how much such a replacement will cost (vegetarianism is not the cheapest pleasure).
5 Hollywood stars who follow special diets
If you meet a vegan
The opinion of the editors may not coincide with the opinion of the author of the article.