People of all ages and backgrounds have chosen to become vegetarian. Be it a religious practice or just to help save the environment, every vegetarian have embraced this eating lifestyle for reasons close to their heart.
Being vegetarian does not necessarily mean avoiding all meat products. That’s being vegan. Instead, people who follow a vegetarian diet never eat meat, fish or poultry. Some still eat dairy foods, such as cheese or eggs, while others abstain entirely from any food product that comes from an animal.
There are many benefits to becoming a vegetarian if you look at it carefully.
For one, people believe that going vegetarian has plenty of potential health benefits. Avoiding meat means avoiding saturated fat that is found in animals, and also the antibiotics and hormones injected into livestock grown on factory farms.
Vegetarian diets have been associated with improved health outcomes including lower levels of obesity, reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. Several studies have shown that vegetarian diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. They also appear to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E.
Overall, vegetarians consume more high-fiber foods like unsalted nuts, and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods.
A vegetarian diet plays a part in offering some protection against type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
There are studies showing that diabetics who substitute meat for plant protein may reduce their risk of poor kidney function.
Diets high in animal protein are known to cause the body to excrete calcium, oxalate, and uric acid—the main components of kidney stones and gallstones.
The World Health Organization has said that about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet.
Research also suggests that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day may lower your risk of dying from cancer by up to 15%.
Avoiding certain animal products can help reduce the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers.
You can lose weight on a vegetarian diet as vegetarians tend to consume fewer calories from fat than non-vegetarians. The added fiber helps keep them feeling fuller for longer, thus reducing the total amount of calories they eat on a daily basis.
Better mental health is also associated with vegetarianism. A study published in 2010 in “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism” showed that a vegetarian work-site nutrition program improved mental health, vitality and physical function when compared to a control group.
Besides the obvious health benefits, practicing vegetarians also leave a smaller carbon footprint compared to their meat-eating friends.
The health of Mother Earth is a big concern for some vegetarians. Animal waste from factory farms polluting the land and water or forests that are cut down to make room for grazing cattle have driven many into adopting only plant-based foods into their diets.
They often feel morally unable to eat animals slaughtered for their meat. Your hamburger can become unpalatable the moment you imagine it as a wide-eyed cow in the pasture, let alone as an unhealthy animal in a cramped factory farm.
Very much more resources including land space and water are also needed to produce the same quantity (e.g. by mass) of meat than of grain.
Eating vegetarian food costs less at both the production and consumer level. Meat and fish are expensive but is not essential, so following a vegetarian diet has the additional benefit of saving money.
With there being so many benefits to becoming a vegetarian, not to mention the growing number of research supporting a plant-based diet, it’s no wonder more and more people are embracing this lifestyle
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