Benefits of Being a vegetarian
Nowadays people are being more conscious about their health and are trying to change their food habits. These days people are trying to be vegetarian. Let’s explore vegetarian diets and the benefits of being a vegetarian.
Basically being vegetarian is the practice of consuming food that are of plant origin and excluding animal products. However, some vegetarian people also accept fish, honey, eggs and dairy products. A vegetarian diet is one that abstains from animal protein and meat but accepts certain animal products like dairy, milk, eggs, cheese and honey. However, the vegetarian diet is individualized and it can be categorized as:
1. Ovo vegetarian diet: It abstains red or white meat and dairy products but accepts eggs.
2. Lacto-ovo vegetarian: It refuses red or white meat but accepts dairy products and eggs.
3. Semi-vegetarian diet: It refers to reducing the consumption of animal protein.
4. Pescatarian diet: It refuses all meats except fish and seafood.
5. Pesco pollo vegetarian: It refuses red meat but accepts chicken and fish.
A vegan diet is different from a vegetarian diet in the sense that a person on a vegan diet abstains from consuming animal proteins and animal products. Vegan diet is also individualized like vegetarian diet.
There are many reasons behind people adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle. Some people are following these lifestyles due to certain ethical reasons like reducing harm towards animals. Some due to health concerns and some probably due to their family background.
Are Vegetarians Hypocrites?
Some vegan people often considered vegetarians as hypocrites for consuming dairy products and eggs. Despite having discrepancy between attitudes and behavior, there may be some economical, environmental, and personal disliking of the taste of the meat due to which people choose vegetarian diets. So, calling them hypocrites, we may be ethnocentric.
How To Develop The Vegetarian Lifestyle?
Following are some tips for adhering to vegetarian diet:
- Be aware of nutrients required for your body and find a reliable source to fulfill them.
- You can obtain some tips and information from nutritionists or certain other related websites.
- You have to make and follow a weekly shopping and meal plan.
- Search for the plant based food that provides exactly the same nutrient as that is obtained from the meat. So, gradually start following a number of meat free dishes.
- Follow the similar pattern for over a month.
Types of Vegetarian diet
Depending upon your personal preferences you may include some animal products in your food. There is no fixed rule for it.
Should You Become A Vegetarian?
These days people are choosing a vegetarian diet for many reasons. Some for healthier lifestyle, other for ethical, moral or environmental concerns. As there are lots of benefits being a vegetarian, it is a wise decision to become a vegetarian.
Sources Of Proteins For Vegetarian
Proteins can be obtained from different sources.Following are the sources of protein for vegetarian people:
✓Beans, Peas And Lentils
2. Soy products
✓Whole grains like Oats and barley
Sources Of Minerals For Vegetarian
- Iron from legumes, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables
- Zinc from nuts, legumes, whole grains food
- Calcium from dairy products, leafy dark green vegetables
- Iodine from breads, dairy products, seaweeds, eggs
Diets refraining the consumption of meat have been first documented in religious text dating back to the fifth century BC in India. According to one British historian, The British, after colonizing India in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, observed the vegetarian practice in India and then popularized it in European countries.
As mentioned in a historical document, some african people also have a plant based diet that supported today’s vegetarian movement.
Benefits Of Being A Vegetarian
There are many benefits of being a vegetarian. We may achieve certain health and environmental benefits by following the vegetarian diet. According to the American Dietetic Association, “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
Following are the some health benefits of being a vegetarian.
- Vegetarian diet reduces the risk of several diseases. Plant based diets are rich in different phytochemicals that act as antioxidants and also have cancer reducing properties. Red meat and other processed meat are associated with cancer of the colon, rectum, prostate and stomach.
- It also reduces the risk of heart diseases, blood pressure and certain other serious diseases. Reduced death rate from ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease has been reported in people following the vegetarian diet.
- Vegetarian lifestyle also refuses the risk of type 2 diabetes. About 35 to 53% lower risk of type 2 diabetes was reported among the people following a vegetarian lifestyle as compared to non-vegetarian.
- Following a vegetarian diet is an effective way of reducing the overweight.
- People aware about animal welfare feel good to follow vegetarian diets.
- Vegetarian fats are high in fiber and unsaturated fats so they boost up the heart health.
- Vegetarian diets have lower levels of saturated fats, total fats and cholesterol as compared to meat. So, they are excellent for our health.
- Plant based food is also good for our brain health. Several studies have shown that consuming plant based food reduces the risk of dementia, alzheimers and certain other nervous disorders. This is because the grains are rich in polyphenols which slows down the risk of neuro disorder.
- People following a vegetarian lifestyle have low cholesterol levels.
- According to the research of Luda Linda University, Vegetarian people are supposed to have about seven years longer lifespan than the meat eaters.
- It has also been reported from several studies that replacing meat products with vegetables will cut off your food bills. So you may have better savings.
- Another benefit of being a vegetarian is that it also boosts up our immunity and reduces the chances of several diseases.
- Avoiding meat and meat products also saves us from the risk of zoonotic diseases like bird flu.
- Adoption of a vegetarian lifestyle is also a way of mitigating rising food insecurity problems. We need fifteen pound of feed to produce one pound of meat. If that feed is given directly to people, it will be sufficient to feed the whole plant.
Benefits Of Being A Vegetarian For Environment
- Consuming plant based food not only benefits our health but also has some environmental benefits. Plant based foods are more sustainable than non-vegetarian food as they cause less harm to the environment.
- Manure is considered a top pollutant by the environment protection agency. The methane gas released by pigs, goats and poultry causes a greenhouse effect. Also the ammonia released from urine of farm animals is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Following the vegetarian diet will help to reduce these wastes and hence helps to mitigate the climate change. About 2400 gallons of water is required for producing one pound of meat. So, shifting towards a vegetarian lifestyle also saves water.
- Is the vegetarian diet really beneficial for the environment?
- Following a vegetarian lifestyle is the best way of mitigating climate change. Vegetarian diet is really beneficial to the environment. It is supported by following evidences:
✓Vegetarian diet reduces emission by 2.5 times as compared to non-vegetarian diet.
✓Following a vegetarian diet reduces the emission equivalent to a family taking a small car off the road for six months.
✓A chicken breast requires about 735 liters of water, which can fill off your bathtub by 4.6 times.
Disadvantages Of Vegetarian Diet
Despite its many fold disadvantages, veggie diets also have some disadvantages. Following are some disadvantages of having vegetarian diet:
- Some studies have suggested that a vegetarian diet may increase the risk of calcium deficiency and low mineral density in bone.
- Restricting yourself to certain food may increase the risk of nutritional deficiency.
- Creatine that is made from glycine, arginine and methionine is required for muscles which is mainly found in meat and fishes. So, vegetarians have lower creatine levels than non-vegetarian people.
- It is difficult to get enough protein.
- Giving off meat may also lead to hair fall. Iron, Vitamin B and zinc present in meat are essential for hair growth.
Is The Vegetarian Diet Really Safe?
As we know, a vegetarian diet is associated with the deficiency of certain vitamins like Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids which may have a significant health consequence. However a wise way of choosing the food may avoid such risk. So, a vegetarian diet is safe if you choose different food items wisely.
Vegetarian diet is one that we need to follow. There are a lot of benefits of being a vegetarian. We not only have health benefits but we do have some environmental benefits. Having a vegetarian lifestyle is an effective and best way to mitigate climate change and global warming by reducing emissions. Beside these, veggie diets do also have some ethical, moral and religious concerns. You can also have about a seven year longer lifespan than non-vegetarian people. So, follow a vegetarian lifestyle and stay healthy.
Also Read: Benefits Of Vegan Diet For Brain