Mankind depends on plants and animals for food. Those who consume both are known as omnivores while individuals who eat only plant food are referred to as herbivores, vegetarian eaters or vegans. As the goodness of vegetarian food is gaining acceptance, the number of vegans appears to be catching up at a rapid pace.
The fact that a vegetarian diet helps in boosting good health and longevity of life is getting due recognition. Contrary to the belief that vegetarian food is not wholesome, there is strong evidence from various researches that all the vital nutrients required for a healthy body is present in such diets. Those plant foods do contain nutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorous, and other essential minerals can no longer be disputed. The importance of omega-3 and vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E all considered vital for good nutrition is also to be found in vegetarian food.
So what does a pure vegetarian diet comprise of? In brief, it a diet obtained solely from plants. In other words, it includes vegetables, fruits, lentils, grains, nuts etc. Extensive research conducted on vegetarian diets reveals the wholesome nutrition it provides and this fact is increasingly being accepted by the public at large. On the other hand, a lacto-vegetarian diet is based both on plant and dairy products. Individuals who consume vegetables and fish in their diet with the inclusion of meat and poultry products are known as pescatarians while those who include vegetables, dairy products and egg are called eggetarians or lacto-ovo vegetarians.
The key benefits of a vegetarian diet lies in the fact that while saturated fat and calories are lesser, the fiber content and anti-oxidant properties are higher. This in turn helps in abetting various diseases that affect vital organs such as the heart, stomach, kidney and our arteries and veins. Consumers of only vegetarian diet are also found to be more active and alert in their regular lifestyle routine.