The research is in: Following a vegetarian diet is a healthy way of eating. In fact, multiple studies have linked vegetarian diets to a reduced incidence of chronic disease and cancer.
As with all diets, the key to a healthy vegetarian diet is to include a variety of foods. No single food can provide all the nutrients your body needs
8 key nutrients
Calcium. Calcium helps maintain strong bones. Milk and dairy foods are highest in calcium. Dark green vegetables, such as turnip and kale, and broccoli, are good plant sources. Calcium-enriched and fortified products like juices, cereals, soy milk are other options.Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health, immune function and inflammation. It’s added to milk, some brands of soy and rice milk, and some cereals and margarines, so check those labels. If you don’t eat enough fortified foods, and you have limited sun exposure, you may need a vitamin D supplement.Vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 supports red blood cell production and prevents anemia. Dairy and eggs are good sources, if you include these in your diet. Otherwise, consider vitamin supplements.Protein. Protein helps maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Eggs and dairy products are good sources, but you can get enough protein from plant-based foods if you eat a variety of them throughout the day. Plant sources include soy products and lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish and eggs are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids for heart health. Or, you can get a plant-based form of omega-3s soy oil, walnuts, ground flaxseed .
If you only get plant-based omega-3s, you may also want to consider supplements, since the body doesn’t always convert the plant-based form efficiently.
Iron. Iron is a crucial component of red blood cells. Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grains, dark leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit are good sources of iron. Because iron isn’t as easily absorbed from plant sources, the recommended intake for vegetarians is almost double that recommended for nonvegetarians.
Zinc. Zinc is an essential component of many enzymes and plays a role in cell division and protein formation. Like iron, zinc isn’t as easily absorbed from plant sources as it is from animal products.
Cheese is a good option if you eat dairy products. Plant sources of zinc include grains, soy products, nuts and wheat germ.
Iodine. Iodine is a component in thyroid hormones, which help regulate metabolism, growth and function of key organs. Plant-based diets are typically low in iodine. However, just 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt a day provides a significant amount of iodine.
Even keeping vegetarian diet, can be healthy and tasty at the same time.