Leading a healthy lifestyle is not easy in this day and age. Everywhere we turn, meat is cooked in hundreds of different ways, to satisfy billions of people around the world. However, vegetarians do exist, even if we make up a minor portion of the society. More vegetarian/vegan businesses are opening up around the world, to cater to the growing population of vegetarians/vegans. The western culture has especially embraced this growing lifestyle quite famously. So, to better understand the hype and fascination about vegetarianism/veganism, we will be discussing about what this really means and the benefits that this brings along.
Believe it or not, vegetarianism and veganism are not the same thing. There are differences in their diets, depending on the individual. Even religion can sometimes influence the diet that vegetarians/vegans have. But for the most part;
1) A vegan diet excludes all meat and animal products (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs).
2) A vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, fish and seafood. There are variations where eggs, fish and dairy products can be included/excluded.
Personally for me, I am a vegetarian. My diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, seafood and eggs. That means that I’m allowed to eat fruits, vegetables and dairy products (milk, cheese, etc.). This is due to my religion called Sikhism, where we must practice this vegetarian diet.
Now, there are reasons as to why looking to change their lives by adopting these diets. Let me share some of them with you.
A vegetarian diet can have health benefits, as it tends to be low in saturated fat and higher in fibre and Vitamin C. Vegetarians also tend to be slimmer than meat eaters. People become vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religious convictions, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources. A mostly plant-based or vegan diet is healthier than a meat-based diet simply because it’s higher in fiber and lower in salt, cholesterol, and calcium. A plant-based diet can also help people reduce the chances of getting cancer. The benefits kick in by both adding plants to your plate and eating less animal protein.
Let me share a more detailed explanation of the benefits below;
1. Increases lifespan
The more you eat fruits or vegetables, the lesser is the toxin and chemical build up in your body, thus facilitating more healthy years and a longer lifespan.
2. Lower cholesterol levels
Although cholesterol is an essential component of each human cell, vegetarians do not need to worry about not getting enough cholesterol, because the body can make all the cholesterol it needs from vegan foods. Korean researchers after examining the long-term effects of following a vegetarian diet concluded that body fat and cholesterol levels were lower in vegetarians than omnivores.
3. Less risk of stroke and obesity
The University Hospital Ghent Department of Pediatrics in Belgium says adopting a vegan diet is a good way to minimize your chances of having a stroke or being obese
4. Reduces risk of diabetes
Non-vegetarians usually experience extreme levels of blood sugar, sometimes very high, just after consumption. This can be avoided and a constant flow of blood sugar can be maintained if the nonvegetarians swap over to a vegetarian diet. A healthy vegetarian diet is easy to absorb, is nutritious and contains less fatty acids.
5. Gives healthy skin
If you wish to have healthy skin then you need to eat the right amount of vitamins and minerals with plenty of water. Fruits and vegetables that we eat are very rich in vitamins, minerals and also have sufficient antioxidants. Moreover, as they are water based, if you eat them raw it can further improve the intake of healthy nutrients. Many vegetarian foods also are rich sources of antioxidants that help you stay disease free, with healthier skin
6. High fiber content
Fruits and Vegetables also contain high fiber content, which is necessary for proper digestion. It helps improve body metabolism and helps in fast elimination of toxins and other chemicals from the body. Vegetarian foods are usually water-based, which helps in maintaining the required liquids in the body.
7. Can reduce depression
Vegetarians may be happier than the non-vegetarian counterparts. It was also discovered that a vegan had lower scores on depression tests. So it is bound to cleanse our minds and keep our thoughts positive.
8. Improves metabolism
Vegetarian food is easy to digest and it keeps the metabolism of an individual in good.
9. It is economical
Last but not the least, if you follow a vegetarian diet then you are saving good amount of money. Non-vegetarian foods no doubt are expensive if compared to the vegetarian food. Hence now the choice is completely yours.
All in all, it is safe to say that there are pros and cons to being a vegetarian or an omnivore. However, it is clear that for vegetarian, the pros outweigh the cons. So, it is safe to say that the vegetarian/vegan diet is much more healthier and beneficial compared the the meat-based diet. However, the choice and preference is up to the individual alone.