Benefits Of A Vegetarian Diet And Why You Should Consider It

vegetarian dietIt goes without saying that eating a plant based diet is the key to a healthier and longer life. The research supports this statement. Research has also found that those who follow a vegetarian diet are at a significantly reduced risk of developing various chronic diseases. If you’re struggling with uterine fibroids, research has also found that women who ate a plant based diet were at a reduced risk of developing uterine fibroids than those who didn’t.

The power of plants

Lower rates of diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, gallstones, vision problems, etc, have been noted in places where it is common to eat little to no meat such as the Mediterranean, China, etc, compared to areas where the SAD (standard American diet) way of eating is the norm. This is truly sad (no pun intended). People are slowly killing themselves with food or increasing their risk of developing various diseases and conditions simply by what they eat.

One thing that has stood the test of time is the power of plants to keep you healthy the more of them that you eat. This is because fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, etc, contain many phytonutrients such as antioxidants (e.g. beta carotene, vitamin C and E), minerals, etc, which protect the body from disease.

Even without these phytonutrients, an important aspect of a mainly plant-based diet is all the fiber that is found in nature something that most processing methods that create the various SAD foods eliminate. Fiber is EXTREMELY important for maintaining general health and well-being. If you have fibroids, the importance of fiber for eliminating fibroids is discussed in more detail here.

Most people on the SAD diet eat much less than the daily requirement of fiber which is about 24 grams for women and 30 grams for men. Vegetarians very easily exceed their daily requirements for fiber through their diet. This soluble and insoluble fiber not only keeps you regular but it also prevents fat and cholesterol from entering the blood stream and causing many health problems.

Speaking of fat, the vegetarian diet is missing one problem fat. Saturated fat. Saturated fat and cholesterol come from meat. These can lead to many health problems.

A vegetarian diet contains healthy fats – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats – which are so much better for the body and help promote general health and well-being and reduce the risk of developing various chronic diseases. These healthy fats come from seeds, nuts, olives, olive oil, etc.

The abundance of fiber in a plant-based diet will also help to keep your weight down since fiber helps to fill you up quicker which prevents excessive eating and keeps you feeling full for longer which prevents snacking between meals. And the other thing is that if you follow a vegetarian diet, you can eat as many fruits and vegetables especially as you want without worrying too much about calories.

A vegetarian diet is good but…

Protein

You can get many of the nutrients you want from a vegetarian diet including protein even if you are a strict vegetarian who does not eat eggs, milk and other animal products but you still need to be careful.

Meat does provide the most complete type of protein (meaning it contains all the amino acids you need), but even though some vegetables and legumes may be missing a few amino acids, you can still get all the protein you need if you eat legumes and grains which contain some of these amino acids throughout the day.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is another concern for those on a vegetarian diet. This vitamin can only be found in animal products and is crucial because it’s used by the body to create red blood cells. When you are deficient in this vitamin, you will usually feel week and tired (pernicious anemia).

One way to avoid a deficiency in this vitamin if you follow a vegetarian diet is to eat foods that are fortified with B12 such as certain cereals, soy milk, nutritional yeast, etc.

But it’s so hard…

Making a change to a vegetarian diet will be difficult so you need to come up with reasons why this diet will be beneficial for you. Are you dealing with various health issues that you want to put in your past? Feel unhealthy? Don’t feel your best? Are overweight or obese, etc.

Even when you come up with good reasons for changing to a vegetarian diet, it may be difficult to make the change so be kind to yourself. Start slowly and gradually introduce changes to your diet. Start by eating vegetarian for one day a week or one meal a day and gradually build up. Or start by only eliminating meat and keeping fish (become pescetarian).

Or adopt a Mediterranean diet if a vegetarian diet is too much. As mentioned previously, parts of the world that follow this diet have been found to be healthier and with a reduced risk of developing various chronic diseases. This diet contains an abundance of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, red wine, fresh fish, etc, and less meat products.

As you make these changes to your diet, there will be some resistance but if you are persistent, your body will start to become used to and start craving this healthier food and start to detest many unhealthy foods that you used to enjoy and you will be on your way to a longer, healthier life.

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