Are you concerned about your health and wondering what you can do about it? There are a range of lifestyle choices you can make. Giving up that nasty nicotine habit is the most obvious one, along with reducing your alcohol intake. Taking more exercise is another change you can make. Removing meat from your diet also has great benefits for your health. People choose to become vegetarians for several other reasons. For example, religious beliefs, concerns about animal welfare and the use of hormones and antibiotics in livestock. Regardless of the reasons, choosing a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of certain illnesses and improve your overall sense of wellbeing.
Around the world, there are millions of people choosing a vegetarian diet. The health benefits are well documented. A vegetarian diet is high in fiber, low in saturated fat and loaded with phytochemicals (these help to prevent cancer). Studies have shown vegetarians are as much as 40% less likely to develop cancer than those who include animal products in their diet.
Reduces the Risk of Heart disease
Saturated fat is found in animal products. This type of fat is a major source of cholesterol in our diet. If there are no animal products in your diet, you are reducing your intake of saturated fat. The increased levels of fiber in a vegetarian diet also help to reduce cholesterol levels. In combination with stopping smoking, reducing stress and increasing exercise a vegetarian diet will help beat heart disease.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Nutritionists noted more than a century ago, that people who ate no meat had lower blood pressure. Changing to a vegetarian diet can be just as effective as taking blood pressure medication. The exact reason why this type of diet works so well has not been found. However, it is thought to be a combination of the lower levels of fat and sodium and increased levels of potassium.
Those who follow a vegetarian diet are less likely to develop diabetes. If you already suffer from non-insulin dependent diabetes, it can be better controlled and even reversed when you choose to follow a low-fat, vegetarian diet and adopt a regular exercise routine.
Other Health Benefits
The risk of getting kidney stones and gallstones is reduced when following a vegetarian diet. Non-meat eaters also enjoy a lower risk of osteoporosis. One more condition worth mentioning is asthma. A study undertaken in 1985 in Sweden showed that asthma sufferers who chose a vegan diet for one year showed a marked decline in the need for medication and in the number and severity of attacks.
Many people are worried about adopting a vegetarian diet because they don’t think it will provide them with all the essential nutrients. The opposite is true, and it is in fact very easy to enjoy a well-balanced diet, without eating meat. Getting enough protein is a big concern for many but a normal variety of plant food provides more than enough. There is less in a vegetarian diet than a meat-based one. However, studies have shown that this is an advantage. Dark green leafy vegetables and beans are loaded with calcium. Iron can be found in fruit, beans and whole grains.