Variety is the spice of smart vegetarian diets - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Variety is the spice of smart vegetarian diets

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A healthy plant-based diet includes all necessary nutrients. (Source: CNN) A healthy plant-based diet includes all necessary nutrients. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - Experts say a plant-based diet can be the way to go.

"Plant-based diets are probably one of the best things we can do for our bodies," Marisa Moore, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said. "They might reduce the risk of some cancers. Plant-based diets can also be great for lowering the risk of heart disease and even helping people live a little longer."

There are no major health risks if a diet includes all the necessary nutrients, particularly getting enough protein, calcium and iron, as well as vitamins D and B-12.

Some good protein sources may include beans, quinoa, grain, soy products and tofu, Moore said.

Calcium can be found in leafy greens, as well as almonds, sesame seeds, tofu and soy milk.

Greens, whole-wheat bread and fortified cereals contain iron. Vitamin B-12 is in milk, eggs and some cereals, and Vitamin D can be obtained from dairy products. Supplements may be necessary.

In addition, flaxseed has omega-3 fatty acids. Experts recommended adding it to meals.

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