Vegetarian diets do not contain meat, poultry or fish, vegan diets further exclude dairy products and eggs. Vegetarian and vegan diets can vary widely.
In general, vegetarian diets provide relatively large amounts of cereals, pulses, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
In terms of nutrients, vegetarian diets are usually
- rich in carbohydrates, n-6 fatty acids, dietary fibre, carotenoids, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E and Mg,
- relatively low in protein, saturated fat, long-chain n-3 fatty acids, retinol, vitamin B12, zinc (Zn),
- vegans may have particularly low intakes of vitamin B12 and low intakes of Ca.
On average, vegetarians and vegans have a relatively low BMI and a low plasma cholesterol concentration, but higher plasma homocysteine concentrations than in non-vegetarians. Overall, the data suggest that the health of Western vegetarians is good and similar to that of comparable non-vegetarians.
Vitamin B3, Niacin, nicotinic acid, helps to convert food into energy and is essential for healthy skin, blood cells, brain, and nervous system. It is one of 8 B vitamins. It is water-soluble, which means it is not stored in the body. It has 2 other forms, niacinamide (nicotinamide) and inositol hexanicotinate, which have different effects.
Niacin occurs naturally in food and can also be made by your body from the amino acid tryptophan, with the help of B6.
It is rare for anyone in the developed world to have a Vitamin B3 deficiency; alcoholism is the main cause of it in the US.
Recommended daily amount: 14 - 16 mg.
Example sources: whole grains, mushrooms, peanuts and other legumes.
Fruits (100 g) :
- Peaches or Apricots, dried - Niacin: 4 mg
- Avocados, raw or Dates, medjool - Niacin: 2 mg
Seeds (100 g):
- Rice bran, crude - Niacin: 34 mg
- Sesame flour - Niacin: 13 mg
- Sunflower seed kernels, dried - Niacin: 8 mg