Have you ever tried to be a vegetarian, but often had the thought of eating meat, and got into a natural battle, but in the end you couldn’t resist the temptation and couldn’t stick to it? It’s no surprise, as new research published in the international journal PLOS ONE shows that whether or not you go vegetarian isn’t just about willpower, it’s about genes.
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Are you suitable to be a vegetarian?Research: Genetic Determination
In this study, researchers used UK Biobank (UKB) data to analyze about 5,300 vegetarians and 329,000 meat eaters to compare the differences in diet and genes between the two. It was found that vegetarian-related genes include RIOK3, RMC1 and NPC1. These three genes are all located on the same chromosome and are involved in lipid metabolism and affect brain function. In addition, the study also found 31 other potentially related genes.
Human dietary preferences are highly heritable, meaning that our genetic makeup determines what we like to eat. For example, some people like to eat cilantro, while others hate it because it tastes soapy. In the same way, vegetarianism is also related to genes.
Vegetarians are prone to lack of six nutrients
Why be vegetarian? Research tells us that vegetarianism is related to genetic makeup, but many people choose vegetarianism for reasons such as pursuing health, maintaining health and losing weight, or due to religious beliefs, environmental protection and other reasons. However, vegetarians are more worried about the fact that their bodies are prone to lack of certain nutrients, including: Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and zinc.
Further reading: CNN selected Taipei as one of the top ten “vegetarian” cities in the world! These 5 “vegetarian restaurants” are so delicious that they taste better than meat!
1. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA mostly come from fish such as salmon, tuna, and saury. Therefore, compared with meat eaters, vegetarians have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. For vegetarians, α-linolenic acid in plant foods can be converted into EPA and DHA in the body. Foods rich in α-linolenic acid include: flax seeds, walnuts, rapeseed oil, and chia seeds.
2. Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal foods. A lack of vitamin B12 may lead to anemia, fatigue, emotional instability, etc. Many vegetarians in Taiwan suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency (serum vitamin B12 < 200 pg/mL). Lacto-ovo vegetarians can eat more dairy products and eggs; vegans can get kelp, seaweed, yeast or vitamin B12. Supplement with fortified cereals, and further vitamin B12 supplements if needed.
3. Vitamin D: Spending 20 minutes in the sun every day helps the body synthesize vitamin D, which is helpful for maintaining bone health, immune regulation, reducing inflammation and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Vegetarians can consume whole milk, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, abalone mushrooms and other mushroom foods. If necessary, directly taking vitamin D supplements or vitamin D-fortified foods is also an option.
4. Iron: The iron in plant-based diets is “non-blood matrix iron” and its absorption rate is very poor. Vegetarians are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency and anemia. It is recommended that you choose unrefined whole grains for each staple meal, such as brown rice, oats, chickpeas, etc., and eat more iron-rich dark green vegetables such as sweet potato leaves, spinach, amaranth, and red fennel. You can pair it with fruits high in vitamin C after meals, which can help your body absorb iron.
Extended reading: MRT Songjiang Nanjing’s vegetarian food recommendation “Yache”!Turn Korean cuisine into a vegetarian version, “Cauliflower Version Fried Chicken” Even Carnivorous People Love It
5. Calcium: Milk and dairy products are rich in calcium and are suitable for people who are on a lacto- or ovo-vegetarian diet. For vegetarians, you can consume more high-calcium soy products, such as dried beans, frozen tofu, traditional tofu, and spiced beans. Dried and shredded dried beans. The oxalic acid in vegetables may hinder calcium absorption. It is recommended to choose vegetables with “high calcium and low oxalic acid” content, such as green vegetables, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, and kale, which are all good sources of supplements.
6. Zinc: Zinc is mostly found in animal foods such as seafood and meat. However, current research has not found abnormal serum zinc concentrations in vegetarians. Vegetarians should eat more beans, grains and nuts and seeds to supplement zinc. Nuts and seeds include sesame, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc. They can eat one tablespoon a day. In addition, there are ways to increase the bioavailability of zinc, such as soaking, sprouting or fermenting beans, effectively reducing ingredients that hinder nutrient absorption.
Further reading: Plants, a vegetarian restaurant in Taipei, opens a supermarket. “mise en Plants” uses discarded building materials to make natural materials, creating the first plant-based and gluten-free store!
What is a flexitarian diet? Experts agree that this is the number one weight loss diet that is effective!
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