In the past, vegetarians were often chastised and mocked, and they certainly drew the short straw in terms of dining out options. People would mock vegetarians and call them weak, unhealthy, and malnourished, as it was believed that a meat free diet was notoriously bad for you. In actual fact however, this is not the case at all as it has now been proven that vegetarian diets can potentially be incredibly healthy and beneficial. Gone are the days when the only dining options for a vegetarian was a salad and perhaps a vegetable and goats cheese tart, as vegetarians are now more widely catered for than ever before. Not only that, but the vegetarian movement is most certainly growing, as more and more people are looking to cut back on their meat consumption, or to cut it out entirely. Meat-free Mondays, for example, are very common in households up and down the globe, for a number of reasons. If you’re tempted to turn vegetarian, or perhaps to simply cut back on your meat intakes and embrace more of a vegetarian lifestyle, here are a few reasons to consider going veggie.
Reduced risk of heart disease
Heart disease is actually the number 1 killer in the entire world, and with obesity levels sky high, diets unhealthier than ever, and more and more people leading sedentary lifestyles, it’s easy to see why. Like it or not, but certain processed foods, particularly processed meats, have been heavily linked to heart disease, high LDL cholesterol, hypertension, and heart attacks, all of which can potentially be fatal. Vegetarian diets however, are generally much lower in unhealthy cholesterol and unhealthy fats, which is already great for the heart. A diet rich in vegetables is also very beneficial because vegetables are full of nutrients which reduce inflammation, boost circulation, enhance nutrient uptakes, boost the immune system, and much more besides. Studies have found that vegetarians are generally around 25% less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than non-vegetarians. Of course, not all vegetarian foods are healthy, as unfortunately, whilst being suitable for vegetarians, a typical takeout pizza will not provide any health benefits at all.
Reduced risk of cancer
If you embrace a vegetarian lifestyle and consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables each day, you will reap the rewards in the form of multiple health benefits. One of these benefits is a reduced risk of cancer. Fresh vegetables and fruits are crammed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients boost the immune system which already helps you ward off illness and disease, but it is the antioxidants found in healthy foods that really prove beneficial. Antioxidants prevent oxidation of the cells via toxins and free-radicals. Oxidation changes the cells’ structure on a molecular level, which can cause them to mutate and potentially turn cancerous. Antioxidants prevent this process from happening, which helps protect you from various forms of cancer.
Improved health and well-being
The human body is designed to function at its best when it has optimal levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Whilst taking health supplements is certainly useful, you simply cannot replace the importance of consuming whole foods, especially fresh vegetables and fruits. Each specific food item contains a unique blend of nutrients, each one providing its own unique health benefits. Your immune system will increase exponentially which will mean you’re less likely to get ill. The stronger your immune system is, the healthier you will be. This is yet another reason why you may wish to consider embracing a vegetarian lifestyle.
You’ll look healthier
We all want to look and feel our absolute best, and if your diet is rich in processed junk food, well unfortunately, you will not look your best, and that is putting it mildly. People whose diets are rich in junk food do not get enough nutrients in their systems and this shows on the outside. Their skin is often pale, dry, sometimes oily, and spotty. Their hair and nails also become pale and lifeless. Diets rich in vegetables and fruits however, are almost certain to have the opposite effect. The more vitamins and minerals we consume, the healthier we will look. Our skin will be hydrated, it will look younger, it will become firmer, it will have a healthy glow, and we will simply look and feel a great deal healthier.
As if all of the above health and wellness benefits were not reason enough to consider going meat-free, or at least partially meat-free, how about the fact that doing so is a great deal cheaper. Let’s face it, meat and fish are not cheap, and if you’re looking to save your money, something will have to give. As a compromise, why not give up meat, or do what many people do and consider going partially meat free. The less meat and fish you purchase, the more money you will save. When you consider the fact that vegetables and vegetarian foods are much, much cheaper than meat, it’s no wonder why people looking to save money often embrace vegetarian diets and lifestyles.
It is not as extreme as veganism
Whilst veganism is certainly very admirable, turning vegan is not easy, and it is certainly not something that just anybody can do. Vegans do not consume any animal-based products, which means no meat, no fish, no cheese, no eggs, no dairy, and so on. Vegetarians however, will simply not consume meat, fish, and seafood, or in actual fact, some vegetarians will still consume seafood. Sticking to a vegetarian diet plan is considered much easier than sticking to a vegan lifestyle.
You enjoy great tasting foods
As mentioned, vegetarians now have more food and dietary options than ever before, so finding delicious vegetarian-friendly dishes is a piece of cake. And yes, cake is technically a vegetarian food, though it certainly is not healthy. As well as numerous healthy vegetarian dishes, you can also treat yourself now and then to foods such as cake, French fries, and pizza, and as pizza is virtually more important than life itself, this is very welcoming news indeed.