A vegetarian diet guide has been published in a bid to encourage health professionals to promote the benefits of a meatfree life.
The Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (VVF) has written the "Veggie Diets – Protecting Your Health" guide with nursing staff in mind.
The guide advises vegetarians and vegans on sensible dietary options and explains how to obtain the correct portions of protein, iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids without eating meat, fish or dairy products.
Amanda Woodvine, VVF senior health campaigner, said: "Most patients would like more information on healthy eating than they receive, which is exactly why our guide was written.
"There is compelling evidence that veggie diets can cut the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. And they are useful in controlling weight, diabetes, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
"Give it a go – you could add years to your life!"
"I am on a meatfree diet as I am an ovo-vegetarian [Ovo-vegetarian refers to people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs. Many people are ovo-vegetarians because they are lactose-intolerant. The prefix "ovo" comes from the Latin word for egg.] I think it offers long term health benefits as I do not consume any meat and so I will be free from the toxins and everything else that meat contains" - Jema Page, St Helens, Merseyside