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Why Go Vegetarian? What are the Benefits ?

Updated on June 4, 2014

Plant based living has increased in popularity in recent years. There are a plethora of reasons why people choose to throw away the meat and consume mainly plant based foods. Some do it for ethical reasons, some do it to improve the state of their health. However, there are a number of reasons why you might want to consider ditching the meat and opting for the veg. This article will outline a few of the beneficial reasons for going vegetarian.

Disease Prevention

Opting for a low fat plant based diet can actually reduce the risk of heart disease. Heart disease actually kills more Americans in a year than road traffic accidents and homicide combined. More than 1 million Americans lose their lives to heart disease every single year. Dr Joel Fuhrman, MD and author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight loss. States that being a vegetarian is generally healthier for the body. This is because they eat less animal based fats and cholesterol. Vegans however, do not consume any animal products at all, so they further reduce the risk of heart disease.

Most vegetarians and vegans eat a diet that is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Being a vegetarian or lowering the amount of animal fat you consume can also aid in the prevention of ovarian cancer, diabetes and obesity. The World Cancer Research Fund International state that people should: “ mostly foods of plant origin and limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meats”

Why Did you Go Vegetarian ?

Why Did you Go Vegetarian?

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Prevent and Eliminate Obesity

The NHS website states that if your BMI is between 30 and 40, you are considered obese, meaning you are overweight for your height and age. Obesity is an epidemic in the Western world, it can lead to heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. In accordance with statistics produced by the National Center for Health and Statistics, 64 percent of adults, and 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are considered obese in America. Studies have shown that consuming more plant based foods can actually help to reduce weight, and prevent obesity when adhered to over a long period of time. A study carried out by Dean Ornish, MD, revealed that people who adhered to a low-fat plant based diet lost on average 24 pounds in weight in 12 months. They also maintained their weight after 5 years, this weight loss occurred even though they did not cut calories, or monitor carbohydrate intake.

No Constipation

No Constipation

A study was conducted in 2012 by Live Fresh Media to see how vegetarians who consumed a low fat vegetarian diet, and meat eaters who consumed a high fat animal protein based diet fared when it came to regularity of the bowels. The study monitored a group of 20 people aged between 18 and 30 for 14 days. They would consume their regular meals every day, and drink the same amount of water. The study revealed that the vegetarians had an average of 3 bowel movements a day. Whereas the meat eaters had an average of 1 bowel movement a day. The meat eaters reported that they were constipated and bloated after their second meal of the day.

People that cut out the animal protein and consume plant based whole foods consume more fiber rich foods in general. Therefore, it would be more likely that they would have more regular bowel movements.

People that cut out the animal protein and consume plant based whole foods consume more fiber rich foods in general. Therefore, it would be more likely that they would have more regular bowel movements.

Dr Joel Fuhrman: Eat to Live

More Energy and Improved Mood

Eating a diet rich in whole plant based foods can help to improve your mood, and increase energy levels. The Nutrition Journal carried out a study where 39 meat eaters were asked to consume 3 different diets. A vegetarian diet, meat diet, and meat and fish diet. The study revealed that after 2 weeks the people on the vegetarian diet achieved better scores on mood and stress tests. Their energy levels were significantly higher than that of the meat and fish eaters too. The recommended daily intake for fruits and vegetables in the UK is 5 portions. However, most health conscious vegetarians and vegans eat more than 4 times this amount. Try and consume a large fruit and leafy green based smoothie in the morning. Get your greens in and feel more energetic and less stressed!

In conclusion, you really do not have to ditch the meat and drastically overhaul your diet to see an improvement in your health. Start by eating 1 vegetable based meal a day, then slowly cut out the fatty meats and eat more lean cuts. You can also add more vegetables to your dishes , in addition to the lean cuts of meat. Just make sensible choices and try and increase your fruit and vegetable intake daily.


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