Become a Healthy Vegetarian — Part 1

Become a Healthy Vegetarian -- Part 1

Do we really need to eat either meat or fish in order to keep a good physical and fitness level? I asked myself this question before I became vegetarian and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has feared to lose their physical level. Meat and fish are clearly good for us. Besides being a huge source of proteins, they are rich in vitamins and good fats. Sometimes, we may find difficult to replace them with vegetal sources but I’m going to show you how to become a healthy vegetarian. And also you won’t only maintain your physical level, you will improve it!

B12 vitamin

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in the function of every cell in the body. It is tightly related to the human metabolism Kreb cycle.

In relation to sport, athletes that are injected with large amounts of vitamin B12 before competitions seem to improve performance and endurance. It is a little bit controversial since a research published in the July 2004 issue of “Nutrition” showed that supplementing B12 has no effect on athletic performance in the absence of nutritional deficit.

The daily value (DV) for B12 is 2.5 mcg for adults. However, the NIH (national institute of health, in UK) recommends a daily intake of:

NIH B12 recommendation
NIH B12 recommendation

It is wide known that animal food sources are rich in B12 vitamin. BUT, no worries, we are in the 21st century, we’ll survive. The question is, where can we obtain these B12 vitamins?

  • Egg yolk
  • Milk
  • Yogur
  • Cheese

These products are suitable for a vegetarian person, but what does it happen if you are a vegan? It isn’t easy to accomplish the B12 daily intake of a vegan. Usually, in these cases, the best option is to get a B12 supplement. These supplements provide the 100% of our daily intake. But we need to check 3 things when we take a supplement:

  1. Is it giving us the 100% of the DV? If so, then perfect. But if the amount that it gives us bigger, we can face a exceed of B12 and we will be wasting money.
  2. Another important point of taking supplements is how we do it. Any B12 supplement tablet should be chewed or allowed to dissolve in the mouth since it enhances the absorption of itself.
  3. We must be sure that we are having a B12 supplementation of cyanocobalamin. This is the type of B12 that humans and animals can convert to any one of the active vitamin B12 compounds. Any other type will be either absorbed in less proportion by our body or will be an analog of B12, which only will make up our blood tests.

In my opinion, it is always recommended to have a B12 supplement, even if you are just a vegetarian. Don’t worry too much for having an oral supplement, it is a very safe one and also, if we don’t have it, animals in farms will do (at least we talk about ecological farms).

Creatine

If you are a gym fanatic, for sure that you have heard about creatine. Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates and helps to supply energy to all cells in the body, primarily muscle. This is achieved by increasing the formation of adenosine triphosphate(ATP).

The best natural source of creatine is meat, specially wild meat (elk, buffalo and bison). Then we have beef and pork with 5 grams per kg (aprox.). And chicken and turkey follow them with 2,5 grams per kg.

We can also find creatine in seafood such as tuna, salmon and cod. Actually, they contain the same amount of creatine that beef.
Nuts

There are no vegetal sources of creatine but, does it mean we can not get them? Definitely no! Creatine is synthesize in the liver using the amino acids that we get from proteins. Therefore, vegetarians have to get enough of the amino acids such us arginine, glycine, and methionine which are used in production of creatine. Foods rich in arginine are peanuts, walnuts, coconuts, soybeans, chickpeas, and oats. Foods rich in glycine are raw seaweed or spirulina, raw watercress, spinach, soy protein isolate, and sesame seeds. Brazil nuts, oats, and sunflower seeds are great sources of methionine.

Thus, we can get creatine from supplementation. I’m not going to explain here how to take creatine, however, you can visit the next link.

In any case, I’d recommend taking creatine supplement to everybody due to its amazing results in the performance.  Several studies show that there are no side effects when we take creatine. If you have never tried or you doubt about it, it could now be a good opportunity, give it a chance!

To be continued…

Sources

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12
2. http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/176565
3. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/#h4
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creatine
5. Gualano et al, 2012
6. Antonio and Ciccone, 2013
7. Sport Supplements, Anita BeansVitamin
8. Vegetarianos con ciencia, Lucia Martínez

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