Nutritional Facts For Vegetarians Many Americans have adopted a vegetarian diet and are experiencing better health as a result. Vegetarians are much less likely to be overweight, and have a lower risk for diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes. Vegetarians tend to live an average of thirteen years longer than those who eat meat. Being vegetarian does bring up some nutritional concerns, and this article will tell you all you need to know to be your absolute healthiest. Many people question whether a vegetarian diet is truly healthy. It is healthy with the proper planning. It is a good idea to follow the food pyramid for vegetarians to make sure that you get the quantities your body needs. A vegetarian diet should include two servings of fat, two servings of fruit, four servings of vegetables, five servings of legumes, nuts and other foods high in protein, and six servings of grain. People often wonder if they can get enough protein with a vegetarian diet. There are eight amino acids that must come from the food we eat and with the right foods that will be no problem. If your vegetarian diet includes dairy products and eggs you do not have to worry about this as they contain all the amino acids your body needs. However, if you follow a strict vegan diet you will need to make sure to eat foods that contain complete proteins such as soybeans, buckwheat, quinoa, spirulina, and hemp seeds. You may also combine several foods with incomplete proteins throughout the day to store the proper combination for your body to make complete proteins. Some examples of this are black beans with brown rice or hummus on a whole wheat pita. Another concern for vegetarians is getting enough iron. It is recommended that vegetarians get a complete physical to make sure you are getting enough iron. A simple way to add iron to your diet is to cook in cast iron cookware. This will add trace amounts of iron to the food you cook in it. Consume foods high in quantities of iron such as beans, peas, spinach, lentils, avocado, and enriched cereals. Another source of iron is white wine. Other foods such as oranges, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and green peppers will help your body absorb iron better. Getting enough vitamin B12 is a big concern to vegetarians. Eat foods fortified with vitamin B12. It is very important to read labels to make sure of the amounts of vitamin B12 contained in the packaged food you purchase. You will need to eat at least three servings daily of fortified foods to get at least three micrograms daily or you will need to take vitamin B12 supplements. You should take a daily supplement containing at least ten micrograms or a weekly supplement containing at least two thousand micrograms. Vitamin B12 is best absorbed in small quantities at a time. A vegetarian diet has been proven to be healthier than a diet containing meat. If you follow the advice contained above in this article and do the proper menu planning you will have taken your first step on the road to a healthier lifestyle.