Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian, fruitarian…with so many different diets to pick from, making healthy diet choices can be confusing.
It really doesn’t have to be though.
In fact, when followed effectively, a diet doesn’t have to be a ‘diet’ at all. It can open you up to a life of abundant eating where you get the right nutrients for your body and mind. A healthy diet should never leave you feeling deprived.
The ‘right’ diet to follow is very much down to personal choice and there really is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Individual beliefs may have you following an eating plan that avoids meat or animal by-products for example. Equally you may decide to follow this type of diet because it suits your taste buds or your body type. Even philosophical and psychological makeup can affect the diet choices we make.
What’s important is that, regardless of the diet you follow, you still get the recommended amount of protein, vitamins, minerals and energy needed to sustain you and keep you healthy.
The protein factor
The British Nutrition Foundation explains that protein contributes to the maintenance of normal bones. The recommended RDA guides us to consume 0.75 grams of protein daily for every kilogram of our bodyweight(1). While a vegan diet, for example, could be considered as somewhat limited in protein, according to Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, it’s actually easy for a vegan diet to meet the daily protein recommendations(2). Oatmeal, soya milk, peanut butter and vegetables such as broccoli, can also supply the amount of protein that our bodies need.
How supplements can help
Protein aside, there are certain dietary choices that may mean you could benefit from introducing certain vitamin or mineral supplements into your daily routine. If you choose not to eat dairy or eggs, it may be beneficial to take a calcium supplement to help maintain normal bones, or a Vitamin B12 supplement to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
If you don’t consume red meat then Iron supplements can help contribute to the normal formation of red blood cells, the normal transportation of oxygen in the body and help to reduce fatigue. Zinc supplements also might be recommended to help towards the maintenance of normal bones, skin and eyesight.
If you don’t eat fish then a Vitamin A supplement can help contribute towards the normal functioning of the immune system.
All of these vitamins and minerals can be obtained from different food sources, but that’s not to say that a diet that restricts one or more of them is bad. The choice is yours. With the right supplementation, you can help support the diet of your choice, if needed, whilst working towards a healthier and happier you.