What is a vegetarian?
The Vegetarian Society defines a vegetarian as: “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.” But why be a vegetarian?
Top 10 Benefits of a vegetarian diet
1. BETTER MOOD
Research reveals information suggesting vegetarians may be happier than their meat-eating counterparts. In fact, it was found that vegetarians had lower scores on depression tests and mood profiles when compared to fish and meat-eaters.
When done right, lactovegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, or vegan diets are naturally low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and have been shown to reduce heart disease risk. Research has shown vegetarians suffer less disease caused by a modern Western diet (e.g., coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, constipation, and gall stones, among several others).
3. LEAN FIGURE
Vegetarians typically weigh less as a result of a diet comprised of fewer calories in the form of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
4. LESS TOXICITY
Foodborne illnesses, antibiotics, bacteria, parasites, and chemical toxins are more common in commercial meat, poultry, and seafood when compared with plant foods, (particularly organicfruits and vegetables).
5. SAVING THE PLANET
A plant-based diet is better for the planet as it requires less energy and farmland to feed a vegetarian.
6. MONEY SAVING
Plant foods tend to be less expensive, except for a few delicacies, saving on overall costs.
While most active individuals focus on protein intake, they should be advised that, when done right, a high-carbohydrate, low-fat, and vitamin and mineral-rich vegetarian diet may be optimal for sports performance. Conflicting studies exist, but the number of world-class vegetarian athletes continues to rise.
8. SUPPORTING ANIMAL RIGHTS
Ethical reasons can be a consideration when choosing a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarians tend to have better vision.
Vegetarians have been found to enjoy longer and healthier lives when compared to meat-eaters.
A vegetarian diet has several benefits when properly balanced and nutrient dense. However, just because a diet is “meat-free” does not necessarily mean it is healthy. Benefits can be negated when a healthy lifestyle does not follow. In contrast, a diet containing meat is not always unhealthy. Consuming an adequate amount of calories and eating a variety of healthy food is just as important. A properly balanced vegetarian diet has many benefits and without becoming an every day vegetarian you can implement 1 meatless day a week to obtain some of those benefits.