To be or not to be a vegetarian? That seems to be a question for a lot people these days. Many say they would love to become a vegetarian but don’t think they could give up that nice, juicy steak or delicious cheeseburger. However, there are a lot of health benefits to becoming a vegetarian. Here are 6 reasons why you should become a vegetarian.
Let’s start with what a vegetarian is. A vegetarian is defined as someone who does not eat meat, poultry or fish.
- Lower your risk of heart disease
Because most vegetarian’s diet is filled with rich, antioxidant food, they have a lower chance of heart related diseases. They also have a lower risk for heart attacks, and death from cardiac causes. For heart protection it is best to choose foods like: high fiber whole grains, legumes, and nuts (walnuts in particular).
- Avoid foods that contain growth hormones and antibiotics
Most meat that people consume is filled with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and herbicides. If that isn’t enough to make you want to go vegetarian most of these animals are treated inhumanely and kept in cages or stalls all day long with no room to even turn around.
- Lose that excess weight
A vegetarian’s diet is made up of mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes so it is much easier for them to lose that extra weight and keep it off. Studies done by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have shown that a vegetarians body weight is 3 to 20 percent lower than someone who eats meat. “There is evidence that a vegan diet causes an increased calorie burn after meals, meaning plant-based foods are being used more efficiently as fuel for the body, as opposed to being stored as fat,” says Dr. Barnard who is one of the authors of the study.
- You can still meet all your nutritional requirements
Many people worry that by going vegetarian you won’t be meeting all your nutritional requirements. However, if you have a well-planned vegetarian diet this is not true. The American Dietetic Association says that a well-planned vegetarian diet that is comprehensive is good for all stages of life.
- Lower you risk of cancer
Because many animals are pumped full or hormones and contain a high fat content, the risk of hormone related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer are increased. A vegetarian diet is full of high-fiber plant based foods, so you give yourself more protection and lower you risk of cancer.
- Slow the signs of aging
An Oxford study that took place for 12 years showed that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by six years. Because a vegetarian diet is mostly plant based and is high in fiber, they get the benefits of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which strengthen their immune system and in turn slow down the aging process.
[1.] EurekAlert! – https://www.eurekalert.org
[2.] Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine – http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources
[3.] Down to Earth – https://www.downtoearth.org/health/top-5-reasons
[4.] NCBI- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864
[5.] Global Healing Center – http://www.globalhealingcenter.com
[6.] Harvard Health Publications – http://www.health.harvard.edu
[7.] The Vegetarian Resource Group – http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/nutshell.htm