More and more people prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet now.
This is because vegetarian and diets contain less calories, less saturated fat, more plant protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and other nutrients compared to diets rich in meat.
Research has shown that excessive calories and saturated fat are related to many chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes heart disease and several cancers.
Although vegetarian and vegan diets are healthier, they have some disadvantages. One is that they cannot provide the body some important nutrients in adequate amount.
For example, vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is an essential dietary nutrient that plants cannot provide.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk. People on a vegetarian or vegan diet are likely to have vitamin B12 deficiency.
Recent studies have found that vitamin B12 deficiency can bring lots of harm to the body.
One study from University of Warwick shows that during pregnancy, vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to higher risk of metabolic problems, such as type 2 diabetes, in children.
Other researchers show that mothers low in vitamin B12 levels have a higher BMI, i.e. more likely to be overweight or obese, and their babies may have low birth weight and unhealthy blood cholesterol levels.
In teen boys, vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies are associated with behavior problems.
Now the good news is that scientists have found a solution for the problem.
In a new study from University of Kent, researchers have proved that common garden cress can take up vitamin B12, which increase the nutrient amount in the leaf.
The researchers suggest that nutrient-enriched plants like garden cress can help overcome dietary limitations in vegetarian and vegan people.
Providing a nutrient-complete vegetarian diet has become a global challenge, but it can help solve the problem of population expansion.
The research can be particularly beneficial to some populations. People who are age 50 or older, have gastrointestinal disorders like celiac disease, on certain medications or are a strict vegan need enough vitamin B12.
They need to pay attention to some health conditions, such as fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss, which all can be symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
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