(HealthDayNews) -- Though there's no such thing as a standard vegetarian diet, a regimen rich in fruits and veggies has its health benefits.
Most vegetarian diets are lower in total fat, saturated fats and cholesterol, the American Heart Association says. Studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
But even a meatless diet can be unhealthy if it contains too many calories and not enough important nutrients. The Heart Association advises vegetarians to:
- Keep intake of sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are low in nutrients and high in calories.
- Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or enriched cereal products.
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
- Choose fat-free and low-fat dairy products.
- Limit cholesterol intake to no more than 300 milligrams per day.