Memorial Day
Healthnotes Index:

Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarian Diet: Main Image

The Basics

Eating a vegetarian diet has been shown in many studies to be healthier than eating a meat-based diet. However, this is not the only reason people choose to go vegetarian: environmental, cultural, religious, and ethical factors all play into the decision to not eat meat.

Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry, or fish, building their diets mainly on a variety of plant foods:

  • Grains: Rice, oats, barley, wheat, quinoa, millet, amaranth, and others. These may be eaten as whole cooked grains, milled into flour and made into grain products like bread, crackers, and pasta, made into puffed or flaked cereals, or sprouted.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, peanuts, and soy foods. Many soy foods are made through fermentation or culturing. Other legumes are generally eaten cooked, sprouted, or, in the case of peanuts, raw or toasted.
  • Nuts and seeds: Examples include almonds, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds (sometimes called hemp hearts). These are generally eaten raw or toasted, but, in the case of seeds, may be sprouted.
  • Vegetables and fruits: Both raw and cooked vegetables and fruits are part of a vegetarian diet. Fermented vegetables may also play a role in a vegetarian diet.

Most people who call themselves vegetarians add dairy and eggs to their regular food choices, and they are sometimes called lacto-ovo vegetarians. Vegetarians who include fish in their diet are referred to as pesco-vegetarians. People who eat a mostly vegetarian diet but include small amounts of meat or poultry on occasion may call themselves semi-vegetarians, or flexitarians. Vegetarians who strictly avoid all things derived from animals, eating only plant foods, are known as vegans.

Health benefits may be reaped just by decreasing the amount of meat you eat, even if you donít decide to follow a fully vegetarian diet.

Ready to veg out? Start by choosing legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds to provide the protein, complex carbohydrates, and mono- and polyunsaturated fats you need for healthy functioning of all of the bodyís systems. Add to that 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Regular portions of dairy foods, eggs, or fish as well as soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, and miso are also common staples that add protein and other nutrients to a vegetarian diet.

Copyright © 2016 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved.

Learn more about Healthnotes, the company.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.

List: $23.99
Our Price: $16.79

View More Products

Email Exclusives - Sign up to receive amazing deals via email:

Please note that does not process orders from Friday evening to Saturday evening.

The products and the claims made about specific products on or through this site have not been evaluated by or the United States Food and Drug Administration and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.

© 1999-2016 Kosher Vitamins Express. All Rights Reserved.

Report a bug on