Shraddha Kapoor recently completed two years of being a vegetarian. The Stree actor took to Instagram to share why she decided to become one, highlighting her compassion for animals and the planet as the driving factor.
“As we all celebrate World Nature Conservation Day, I wanted to share that I completed 2 years of being vegetarian on 21/7/21. I decided to turn vegetarian for my love for animals and our planet. It’s made me happier and healthier. 🙃 Here’s celebrating 2 years of making a personal choice to #ChooseCompassion. Compassion towards animals, the environment, and myself,” she wrote.
While a personal choice, vegetarianism has its set of benefits, say experts.
“Vegetarian, plant-based diets contain 64 per cent more antioxidants than meats, and antioxidants prevent circulation of oxidised fat in blood, reduce inflammation and constriction of the arteries,” Dietician Shweta Shah, co-founder of Fitza, a diet plan app, told indianexpress.com.
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This, then begs the question how is vegetarianism different from a vegan diet. Shweta Jaiswal, HOD, dietetics, Sharda Hospital weighs in. “Vegans are vegetarian but with more diet restrictions, particularly in terms of consuming animal products,” she told this outlet.
Shah agreed and added that vegetarian and vegans both avoid poultry, meat, seafood but “vegans take a step further by eliminating all animal products from their diet. This includes paneer, yoghurt, cheese, even honey and any animal milk”.
Jaiswal, however, pointed out that it must not be confused and both vegan and vegetarian diets can be healthy. “Nutrition level varies on three major factors — carbohydrates, fats and protein. A diet of a vegetarian and a vegan can be healthy only if it contains these basic nutrients,” she said.
She explained that vegan diets tend to be low in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol. While carbohydrates and fats get easily consumed by a vegan due to the intake of cereals and pulses, proteins often get neglected. “However, intake of protein can be cured by eating soya and other products,” she added.
But, it must be noted, said Jaiswal, that vegans run the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
“Vegans may have a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies than vegetarians because of the higher level of restrictions that the diet requires. Research has shown that this is especially true for calcium which is primarily found in dairy products. But they can get enough calcium by eating dark green leafy vegetables, certain seeds and fruits and pulses.”