Vitamin D by leader6


									Adopting a
Vegetarian Diet
                   In 2002, approximately 4% of Canadians
                   were vegetarian and chose to do so for a
                   variety of reasons including health,            The term ‘vegetarian’ is
While a well-      cultural, economic, and animal welfare
                   concerns. Due to the increasing interest
                                                                   generally used to describe a
                                                                   person that excludes all
                   regarding vegetarian diets, it is important     animal-derived foods from
planned            for anyone who is currently a vegetarian        their diet.
                   or is interested in becoming one to
vegetarian diet    understand both the benefits and concerns       It is important to remember,
                   of such a diet.
reduces the risk                                                   however, that vegetarianism
                                                                   exists on a continuum. The
                   Vegetarians – if they plan their diet
of many chronic    properly – can have some health benefits
                                                                   list below points out some of
                                                                   the similarities and
                   compared to their non-vegetarian
diseases, there    counterparts. They tend to have a reduced
                                                                   differences between
                   risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart
                                                                   commonly referred to
are some           disease, and certain types of cancers,          vegetarian groups:
                   including prostate and colon cancer.
important          These benefits are likely due to the            Vegans exclude all animal-
                   decreased intakes of saturated fats,            derived foods including milk
points to          cholesterol, and animal protein, and            and milk products, eggs,
                   increased intake of carbohydrates, fibre,       meat, poultry, and fish.
remember to        magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin C         Specific foods such as honey
                   and E, and phytochemicals. Vegetarians          and gelatin may be excluded
ensure that        also tend to weigh less, have lower blood       as well.
                   pressure and lower rates of hypertension.
your body is                                                       Lacto-vegetarians include
                   However, it is important to understand that     milk and milk products but
getting            being vegetarian does not automatically         exclude all meat, poultry,
                   mean you are eating a healthier diet or that    fish and eggs.
everything it      you are guaranteed health benefits. For
                   example, it is still possible to eat a diet
needs.             that is high in fat (eg lots of nuts, cheese,
                                                                   include milk and milk
                   creamy dressings, whip cream). On the           products, and eggs; exclude
                   other hand vegetarians can develop              all meat, poultry and fish.
                   nutritional deficiencies. Although
                   appropriately planned diets can be equally
                   as healthy and nutritionally adequate as
                                                                   vegetarians include milk
                   diets containing animal products, there are
                   some key nutrients that may be of concern,
                                                                   and milk products, eggs and
                   including protein, iron, zinc, calcium ,        fish; exclude all meat and
                   Vitamin D, riboflavin (Vitamin B2),             poultry.
                   Vitamin B12, vitamin A, and n-3 fatty
                   acids. Each of these nutrients will be
                   discussed below.
  Nutrient                        Importance in the body                                              Vegetarian/Vegan sources
                    •    Calcium plays a vital role in the formation and
                         maintenance of bone                                       •   Numerous plant-based sources – bok choy, broccoli, Chinese/napa
                    •    Necessary for heart function, nerve transmission and          cabbage, collards, kale, okra, turnip greens, legumes
   Calcium               blood clotting                                            •   enriched soy milks, fortified fruit juices,
                                                                                   •   calcium set tofu
                                                                                   •   almonds, sesame seeds

                    •    Essential component of blood cells                        •   Legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains – take with
                    •    Important role in the delivery of oxygen to your cells        source of vitamin C (citrus, red pepper, etc.) to aid absorption.
                    •    Heme (animal source) vs non heme iron (plant                  Other ways to enhance iron absorption include soaking and
     Iron                source): Non-heme iron harder to absorb than heme             sprouting beans, grains and seeds
                         iron.                                                     •   Foods that may decrease iron absorption include calcium, teas,
                                                                                       coffee, cocoa, some spices and fibre
                                                                                   •   Due to decreased absorption, iron intakes should be ~1.8x greater.
                    •    Potent antioxidant that can help to protect against
                         prostate cancer by destroying compounds that
  Lycopene                                                                         •   Cooked/processed tomato products, watermelon, pink grapefruit
                         damage DNA and/or by inhibiting the growth of
                         prostate cancer cells.
                    •    Important component of cell membranes
Omega 3 F.A. –                                                                     •   Numerous plant-based sources – flax seed, olive and canola oils,
 short chain        •    Plays vital role in inflammation and the nervous              walnuts, etc. but they have to be converted to the active form, EPA
                         system (vision and brain function)
                    •    Important component of cell membranes
Omega 3 F.A. –                                                                     •   None – found naturally in cold-water fishes (salmon, mackerel,
 long chain         •    Plays vital role in inflammation and the nervous              sardines, etc) and shellfish
                         system (vision and brain function)
                    •    Can reduce the risk of cancer due to antioxidant and      •   Abundant – broccoli, garlic & onions, berries, citrus fruits, green
                         anti-inflammatory properties                                  tea, nuts & seeds, etc
                    •    Protein is required for healthy skin, muscles, and for
                         your body to function optimally                           •   Legumes (beans, soy, lentils), nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables
   Protein                                                                         •   Plant proteins are harder to digest so protein requirements may be
                    •    Eating a variety legumes, grains and vegetables will          increased 15-20%.
                         help you get all the proteins you need
                    •    Essential component for the function of antioxidant       •   Numerous plant-based sources – Brazil nuts, whole wheat flour,
                         systems in our body to defend against free-radical            barley, etc
                    •    Contains isoflavones which may decrease risk of
     Soy                 prostate cancer by reducing testosterone stimulation      •   All are vegan appropriate – tofu, edamame, tempeh, soy milk, etc
                         of the prostate
                    •    Required to produce blood cells, thereby preventing       •   Found naturally in animal-derived foods only
 Vitamin B12             anemia                                                    •   Enriched soy milk, Red Star ® nutritional yeast, multivitamin-
                    •    May play a role in the prevention of prostate cancer.     •   Enriched soy milks, other enriched beverages, fortified margarine
                    •    Major function is to control blood calcium levels and     •   Supplements a consideration.
  Vitamin D              to form and maintain bones.                               •   Can also be obtained from sunlight exposure (5-15 minutes during
                                                                                       summer). Note: darker skin requires longer exposure to obtain the
                                                                                       same amount of Vitamin D
                    •    Powerful antioxidant which works with body’s
                         natural defense system to prevent free radical damage     •   Numerous plant-based sources – wheat germ, almonds, vegetable
  Vitamin E
                         and reduce risk of some cancers, including prostate           oils, broccoli, etc
                    •    Important in cell division and formation of proteins      •   Legumes (esp. black-eyed peas, kidney and pinto beans), nuts,
                    •    Deficiency not seen in western vegetarians                    whole grains, some vegetables

The Prostate Education & Research Centre                                                     Developed by:
                                                                                  Meredith Cushing, RD, MS, MSHSE
                                                                         Kristin Wiens, BSc (FNH), and Diana Trang, BSc (FNH)

                                                                               For more information, please call (604) 875-5006.
                                                                               Visit The Prostate Centre on the World Wide Web:
                   Winter 2007                                                  
1. Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada: Vegetarian Diet. American Dietetic Association 2003; 103(6): 748-765

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