There are many health benefits to a vegetarian diet which consist of not eat meat, poultry, or fish, but you may continue to eat eggs and dairy products. People choose a vegetarian diet for many reasons: to be healthier, to avoid hormones used in animal foods, because they have concerns about animal rights or the environment, or due to religious reasons.
People following a vegetarian diet emphasize plant-based foods, so it is associated with high consumption of fiber, unsaturated fat, vitamins C and E, folic acid, magnesium, and phytochemicals. By prioritising the kind of food you eat and avoiding meat, you can have amazing benefits. Here are some of them.
Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
It has been found that vegetarians have a lower risk of cardiac problems and a lower cardiovascular mortality rate. These heart-protective benefits are related with eat high-fiber whole grains, vegetables and fruits, legumes, and other low-glycemic foods. For example, nuts protect the heart. This type of food has a low glycemic index and contains antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fatty acids. By eating so, you may reduce your overall risk of a heart attack.
Lower cholesterol levels
It seems that the consumption of foods rich in fiber (whole grains, legumes, and seeds) have a lower metabolic impact and reduce cholesterol levels. According to a scientific article published in 2015 “there is evidence that vegetarian diets effectively lower blood concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol”.
Reduces cancer risk
Studies have concluded also that vegetarian diets seem to confer protection against cancer. The key may be a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, it is specified that a vegan diet seems to confer a lower risk for overall and female-specific cancer than other dietary patterns. The lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets seem to confer protection from cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
In a vegan diet, you exclude the same food as a vegetarian diet, but also eggs, dairy products, and all animal-based foods like honey. A lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet is the vegetarian diet we have already explained. This difference is done because there are lacto-vegetarians (consume dairy products but no eggs) and ovo-vegetarians (consume eggs but no dairy).
By following a vegetarian diet you may be less likely to develop diabetes type 2. Although this diet does not cure the disease, it can reduce the risk of having diabetes because it helps you to maintain weight and improve blood sugar control. That is due to a lower intake of unhealthy fats and a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
Lower blood pressure
People who do not meat eat have lower blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables contain potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure, and plant foods have less fat, sodium, and cholesterol, which can have a positive effect on your blood pressure.
Helps lose weight
It happens if you follow a variety and proper vegetarian diet. You have to keep in mind that you can follow a vegetarian diet but you may still eating junk food, fast food, and unhealthy food that contain a lot of sugar, salt or has been processed heavily. However, the food we have been talking about can contribute to control weight as well as prevent chronic diseases. Besides, nuts, grains, and legumes are related to greater satiety and you will not eat meat fat so you may lose weight.
Promotes bone health
The mineral contribution of vegetables is high. The large doses of calcium that they provide help maintain strong bones. If you do not eat meat, you reduce the ingestion of proteins so you will achieve stronger bones because an excess of protein can cause a loss of minerals. Animal products may force calcium out of the body and create bone loss and osteoporosis. In countries where people eat mostly vegetarian diets, osteoporosis rates are lower.
It is economical
The last thing you may want to know is that a vegetarian diet can be more economical. Meat and fish are expensive in comparison with legumes, fruits, or vegetables.
In short, it is easy: if you want to stay healthy you should eat healthily.