Are you considering going vegetarian?
According to a Harvard Health study, approximately six to eight million Americans have adopted a meat-free diet. A vegetarian lifestyle is not just a fantastic entry to better health, but also mental well-being and the environment.
Becoming a vegetarian has become more appealing and accessible with thanks to many factors. For this, we thank plant-based restaurants, a push for better health and more animal-friendly products.
If you’re looking to acquaint yourself with the many benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle, you’re going to want to keep reading. We’ve outlined the six most significant benefits in adopting a meat-free diet.
Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The hypothesis connecting vegetarianism and a minimized risk of diabetes is one that has been tested time and time again. And, as data would suggest, almost all research points the fact that the “right” vegetarian diet eliminates the risk of type 2 diabetes.
What do we mean by the “right” vegetarian diet?
One thing for vegetarians to consider is actual quality of the vegetarian diet itself. To benefit from a vegetarian lifestyle, the diet itself must include high-quantities of plant-based foods. This is opposed to products simply labeled vegetarian but void of any nutritional benefit.
This would be a product such as Oreos or french fries that are popularly labeled vegetarian-friendly.
Adopting a vegetarian diet is not just for preventing diabetes, but also managing it. Studies have confirmed that a plant-based diet helps to control the effects of diabetes.
Lessen The Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is known to be one of the largest causes of death in developed countries. And, one of the most significant causes of heart disease happens to be unhealthy eating habits.
As compared to a meat-heavy diet, a vegetarian diet has the ability to lessen the risk of heart disease. Studies reveal that a vegetarian diet can reduce one’s risk of heart disease by a third. Vegetarians also have a 32 percent lower risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease than those that consume meat.
High in Antioxidants and Vitamins
As compared to meat-based diets, plant-based food products offer high amounts of antioxidants and vitamins. These antioxidants possess anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the progression of various diseases.
A balanced vegetarian diet is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains. These foods all offer a wealth of essential nutrients such as:
- Vitamin C, E and A
A high presence of these nutrients are beneficial for gut health and help to boost immunity. They also reduce the effects of aging and prevent traditional weight gain as a result of aging. Lastly and perhaps most important, they protect against factors leading to cancer and heart disease.
Better for the Environment
Many vegetarians choose to eliminate meat from their diet in order to reduce their carbon footprint. This helps to create a more ethical lifestyle and one free from food-ridden guilt and bad conscience.
While most previous studies in vegetarianism focused on human health benefits, the aim of the studies is continuing to change. Studies are now connecting the relationship between vegetarianism and the environment. One of the most significant benefits of a vegetarian diet on one’s carbon footprint is eliminating greenhouse gasses.
Let’s consider that livestock alone accounts for greater than 14% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Reports state that a vegetarian diet alone could reduce these emissions by up to 63%
Producing vegetarian food is more sustainable and helps to reduce damages to the environment.
Less Risk of Obesity
Studies reveal that a vegetarian diet is closely linked to lower body mass index readings and a reduced risk of obesity. In fact, a study of 38,000 participants revealed that vegetarians had a lower body mass index than traditional meat-eaters.
This may be the result of the fact that vegetarian foods, in general, tend to be lower in fat and higher in fiber than animal-based products. In turn, these foods tend to fill you up faster and prevent you from unnecessary overeating.
While plant-based diets are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they also contain fewer calories and fat per serving size.
This is also because vegetarians naturally have to consider their food choices more carefully.
Eliminates Additives and Byproducts Found in Meat
For meat cooked at high temperatures, negative chemical compounds can be created. These compounds are proven to have carcinogenic effects that are destructive to one’s health. The higher the cooking temperature of these meats, the greater the chance of the compounds being created.
This is especially the case for highly processed meats such as cold cuts, hot dogs, and bacon. The consumption of these highly processed meat products has also been linked to different types of cancer.
Vegetarian diets eliminate the consumption of processed meats. A vegetarian diet, instead, focuses on plant-based proteins. These protiens offer amino acids, antioxidants, and fiber that do not pose carcinogenic effects.
Are You Thinking of Going Vegetarian?
If you’re considering going meat-free, there’s truly no better time than now.
As the vegetarian diet becomes more and more popular, the selection of meat-free products is continuing to expand greatly.
And, if you’re wondering how to improve your general health, it might be worth considering a vegetarian lifestyle. From our own mental and physical health to better our planet, it’s clear that a meat-free diet has many advantages as compared to a traditional diet.
Going vegetarian offers a clean-eating and cruelty-free lifestyle. These lifestyle changes are sure to benefit your health and the environment for years to come!