Have you ever asked yourself 'why eat vegetarian?' Well, it's not just a temporary fad 'diet'. In fact, many people follow a vegetarian diet because of the multiple benefits as well as religious purposes. Some even decide to become vegetarian because of their own personal values when it comes to the environment or animal rights.
Should you become a vegetarian?
Before deciding to be a vegetarian, there are several factors to consider such as your current health condition, religion, and overall lifestyle.
If the benefits of being vegetarian seem appealing to you and suit your lifestyle, then you should definitely consider becoming a vegetarian.
Types of Vegetarian Diet
There are various types of vegetarian diets but the ones we listed below are the most common ones that most people tend to follow.
There are three sub-categories for a basic vegetarian diet which are:
- Lacto: This diet is when they consume all dairy products except for eggs.
- Ovo: This diet includes eggs but dairy is excluded.
- Lacto-ovo: This diet consumes both eggs and dairy.
2. Partial Vegetaria
A partial vegetarian will avoid red meat but they include fish, dairy or eggs. Some even eat certain meats too.
A vegan diet is when you do not consume any by-products or products from animals. Yes, that means other than meat, vegans do not even eat fish, dairy, or eggs. That includes gelatin and honey which are all derived from animals. This also means that any product that contains these ingredients is a big no-no too.
Generally, all vegetarian diets do not consume fish, meat, or poultry and on some occasions, exclude dairy and eggs.
Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets
The benefits of vegetarian diet are plenty - each and every benefit would convince you to think twice about whether you should make the switch from being a carnivore to being vegetarian. Here are some of the popular benefits of being vegetarian:
1. You can build strong bones
If you do not have strong bones, then you probably do not have enough calcium in your bloodstream. That means your bones will be weaker as your body tries to absorb calcium from your bones instead.
There are plenty of vegetables that are high in calcium such as kale, broccoli, and turnip greens alongside tofu, soy milk, and dry beans.
2. You will be more energised
The key to staying energised throughout the day is to consume food that is high in complex carbohydrates. Too many non-complex carbohydrates which can be found in most meats can slow you down and potentially clog your arteries.
The benefit of a vegetarian diet is that you will be able to gain more energy throughout the day because most vegetarian diets consist of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which are all complex carbohydrates that supply a whole lot of energy to the body.
3. You will help save animals’ lives
This is a given - one of the major benefits of being vegetarian is that you will be helping all the animals to live when you switch to a vegetarian diet. Most of the time, these animals are not well-kept and humans tend to be quite cruel to them.
If you’re big on protecting animal rights, all the more reason why you should make the switch to becoming a vegetarian. At the very least, you will live your life at peace knowing that you are saving their lives rather than getting them killed just so you can consume them in your daily diet.
4. You can manage your weight better
Although you still need to maintain a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, being on a plant-based diet also helps you to lose weight because you won’t be eating any fatty tissues found in meat and any empty calories from meat.
5. You can prevent cancer
Yes, you read that right! Maintaining a vegetarian diet helps to prevent cancer because plants consist of phytochemicals which are known to prevent your cells from getting damaged. On top of that, plants contain plenty of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients.
Some research mentions how certain processed meat and red meat cause cancers around the areas of the stomach, prostate, and rectum, to name a few. Hence, when you stop eating meat, you will reduce the chance of getting cancer caused by them.
6. You can prevent the risk of Type-2 diabetes
Type-2 diabetes generally is caused by the amount of fat and obesity found all throughout your body. The amount of fatty tissue causes your body to reject insulin, which is how Type-2 diabetes is caused.
Most vegetarian diets contain less cholesterol and saturated fats so you do not have too much fatty tissue in your body.
7. You can help save the environment
Did you know animals tend to emit greenhouse gases that release carbon emissions that cause global warming or climate changes? Plant-based diets do not release that much carbon emissions because meat-based diets require more resources.
For instance, animals require more water than plants do in the long run. Besides that, animals, in general, require more agricultural land too (plants only require half of what animals need).
8. You can improve your overall heart health
Humans tend to have heart problems over the years due to food consumption which is high in saturated fats. When your body has a high amount of saturated fats, then you will be more prone to have a high cholesterol level too.
The food consumed through a vegetarian diet tends to have more foods that are high in unsaturated fats and fibre which are essential to reduce the body’s cholesterol levels. Thus, this reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers the levels of blood pressure.
Is a Vegetarian diet safe?
Is vegetarian healthy for all ages? Based on research, you can become a vegetarian no matter what age you are along with whether you are pregnant or not too.
- If you’re an adult: It would be advisable for adults to include a sufficient amount of protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iron.
- If you’re a child: It would be advisable to maintain a vegetarian diet that includes a sufficient amount of vitamin B to 12, zinc, and iron.