Semi-vegetarian diet gets thumbs up from doctors to improve heal - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Semi-vegetarian diet gets thumbs up from doctors to improve health

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV
(KXXV) -

If you're looking to improve your health, you might start with changing your diet.

Some people go towards a vegetarian or vegan diet, but for people who don’t practice this lifestyle habit correctly, it could cause a negative impact on their health instead of positive.

Being a vegetarian or vegan takes a lot of hard work and people could miss out on vital nutrients like protein, zinc and omega fatty acids. According to nutritionists, people who've remove meat completely from their diets can cause their bodies not to function properly if they do not find other ways the gain the nutrients they’re missing.

However, a diet known as "Flexitarian" could give you the best of both worlds.

The flexitarian diet is when someone who is primarily a vegetarian, but occasionally eats meat or fish.

Dr. Dawn Sears who is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Baylor Scott & White said people who eliminate meat completely from their diet can cause some serious health effects.

“Protein deficiency can result in just overall malnutrition where you're not able to build back muscles to heal, and you also can get immunocompromised and be unable to fight off infection,” Sears said.

She also said "Flexitarianism” can be very healthy for people who are looking to adapt cleaner eating habits without eliminating meat completely. Because eating meat is not bad for the body, but the type of meat and amount people eat is what can pose health risks.

"When you do look at specific meat studies we do see that red meat has been shown to increase cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, these things as well as colon cancer. And the meat that’s among the worst is processed meat. So the people that are taking in sausages, pepperoni and beef jerky, those are the ones that definitely are the unhealthy," Sears said.

Based on research conducted by Frontiers in Nutrition, evidence showed the flexitarian diet to benefit body weight, improved metabolic health, blood pressure, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. This diet has also shown to play a role in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

However, for those people who still want to give up meat completely, doctors said they would need to add foods like beans, nuts and eggs to make up for the proteins missed from meat.

Doctor Sears said if becoming a vegetarian is not an option for you, just make sure 50 percent of your meals are fruits and vegetables for optimal health. 

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