“People eat meat and think they will become strong as an OX, forgetting that OX eats grass.”
- Pino Caruso
There could be several reasons for people being vegetarian such as religious beliefs, a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources, the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or concerns about animal welfare. And, one of all reasons is “health benefits.”
If we define the term “Vegetarian,” it means to avoid eating any animal flesh, fish, as well as poultry. Those people who avoid flesh, yet eat animal products like egg, cheese, and milk, are ovo-lacto-vegetarians (Ovo = egg; Lacto = milk, cheese, etc.).
However, the number of people who avoid animal products is rapidly growing, and these people are known as pure vegetarians or vegans. Even one of the scientific research shows that the health benefits increase when the amount of food from animal sources in the diet decreases. That says vegan diets are the healthiest overall.
Many of world-renowned figures, as diverse as philosophers Plato and Nietzsche, pop icons Paul McCartney and Bob Marley, and political leaders Benjamin Franklin and Gandhi have all advocated a vegetarian diet.
Well, we must say, science is also on the side of vegetarianism. Several studies have confirmed the extraordinary health benefits of a vegetarian diet.
People those who don't eat poultry, meat, or seafood are vegetarians. Although, there are people with many different dietary patterns also call themselves vegetarians such as:
Along with meat, poultry, and fish, vegans don’t have any products derived from animals, like dairy products, eggs, and gelatin.
They do eat eggs and dairy products but do not eat meat, poultry, or fish.
They do consume dairy products but eat no meat, poultry, fish, or eggs.
These people do eat eggs but do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products.
They eat fish (Pesco-vegetarian, pescatarian) or poultry (Pollo-vegetarian) but avoid meat.
As we alluded earlier also, there are several health benefits of being a vegetarian. Some of them are:
I think this one could be the best advantage of being vegetarian! Vegetarian diets have no arachidonic acid. No surprise, Arachidonic acid is a substance that usually comes from dietary animal sources. It is not just a statement; even researchers have shown a link between arachidonic acid and mood disturbances.
At Benedictine University, researchers performed a study to find out the impact of restricting animal products on mood. And, they confirmed if we avoid eating meat, fish, and poultry, mood improvements do happen.
Moreover, in one more mental health survey amongst vegetarians was conducted at Croatia's Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, it was found that vegetarians have lower levels of neuroticism.
One of the often misconceptions it is that vegans and vegetarians are nutritionally deficient or always hungry. But that's not true as the study of The American Dietetic Association confirms that a well-designed and comprehensive vegetarian diet can be nutritionally sound.
It is even appropriate for all stages and ages of life. It may include infants, elders, as well as athletes. No wonder, reduced incidence of disease, good health, and better management of existing health problems are all correlated with a proper vegetarian diet.
Research showed that vegetarians tend to be leaner than their meat-eating counterparts. One of the reasons could be that they tend to have lower cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). Even some data suggests that a vegetarian diet is better for maintaining a healthy weight over time and can also help with weight loss.
It has been seen that vegetarians manage to be much more conscious in their food choices. And, they are notably less prone to binge eat or choose foods based on emotions. These two habits greatly contribute to obesity.
One researcher at the University Hospital Ghent Department of Paediatrics, Belgium, said that a vegetarian diet reduces the chance of having a stroke or being obese.
There is a relationship between a vegetarian diet and decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease as suggested by The JCU University Skin Cancer Research Clinic. This research showed that most vegetarian diets are full of antioxidant-rich foods.
Plus, antioxidants are molecules which decrease the damage caused by oxidative stress, including atherosclerosis.
Strange enough, but some research released by the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford has announced a strong relationship between the risk of developing cataracts and diet.
It showed that there is the lowest risk groups being vegetarians and vegans and a higher risk falling on meat eaters.
You don’t believe this. Right? But a study of more than 70,000 people conducted in 2013 discovered that vegetarians had a 12 percent lower risk of death in comparison with non-vegetarians.
The reason could be less of cholesterol that clogs arteries and less of the saturated fat. Overall, vegetarians may be at a lower risk for chronic diseases.
We can clearly say that the adoption of a vegetarian diet is a fantastic approach to experiencing better health. It is associated with higher consumption of fiber, vitamins C and E, folic acid, magnesium, countless phytochemicals, and unsaturated fat.
And, this results in vegetarians having lower blood pressure, being thinner, having lower cholesterol, and reduced risk of heart disease. Believe it or not, making this simple dietary change could add years to your life.
Vegan is not just a type of diet, but more of a lifestyle. It’s a healthier choice you make for the people, for the animals, and for a better planet.