Diet Myths Debunked
The Vegetarian Diet
The Myth: It's healthy beyond belief. What could be bad about eating vegetables?
The Truth: Unless you replace the vitamins and minerals lost by cutting out an entire food group, like meat, you maybe weakening your immune system, says Eberle. That's because you won't be getting enough key nutrients -- such as iron, which affects energy levels, the ability to think clearly, and the production of enzymes that fight infection. Too little iron can even increase a woman's risk of postpartum depression, say researchers at Pennsylvania State University. And that's not all: "Meat-free diets that don't include dairy, beans, or eggs are also low in the quality protein needed to repair the microdamage to your muscles that comes from working out," explains Eberle.
The Fix: Dig into iron-rich plant foods (lentils, kidney beans, black beans, fortified cereals and pasta, tofu, and baked potatoes), along with oranges, kiwis, strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes, which are loaded with vitamin C and help boost iron absorption. For your daily dose of protein (about 85 grams for an active 140-pound woman), eat eggs, milk, yogurt, beans, or soy at every meal and with most snacks.
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