What are the Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets?
What is a Vegetarian Diet?
A vegetarian diet essentially eliminates meat products. It’s a diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts and so on. Thanks to a body of modern research, the health benefits of vegetarian diets. People are attracted to vegetarian diets due to different reasons; you may want to cut down on red, fat-laden meat in your diet.
Research indicates that vegetarian diets lead to longevity and increased immunity from disease. Vegetarian diets are associated with numerous health and environmental benefits.
What are the different Types of Vegetarian Diets?
In Australia for example, there are five types of vegetarian diets, depending on the level of food derived from plant origin.
- Lacto vegetarian diet contains dairy food but no fish, meat or poultry products.
- A semi-vegetarian diet comprises fish, poultry, dairy and eggs but no red meat.
- A lacto ovo vegetarian diet eliminates meat and poultry but includes dairy products and eggs
- A ‘pescetarian’ diet includes seafood and fish and may exclude meat, poultry and eggs
- Vegans eat food that is strictly derived from plant sources (no fish, eggs, meat, honey and gelatin)
According to Roy Morgan Research, an Australian based marketing firm, the number of vegetarians in Australia is slowly and steadily increasing. The trend stems from a growing concern among Australians about health and wellbeing.
How are Vegetarian Diets Beneficial to Health?
Vegetarian diets offer a host of important health benefits:
- Lowered risk of heart disease and certain cancers. According to Dr Joel Fuhrman, author of the bestseller ‘eat to Live’, vegetarian diets contain no cholesterol but they are rich in fiber and antioxidants
- Healthy option for weight loss (provided you minimise oil and vegetable fats). Research shows that it’s much easier to maintain weight loss in a healthy manner
- Vegetarian diets are known to increase longevity. According to a detailed 30-year research on residents in Okinawa, Japan, the results identified their diet of fruit, vegetables and soy as a source of complex carbohydrates that promotes longevity
- Vegetarian diets also help you enjoy enhanced energy levels as your arteries are not clogged with fat; as a result, your muscles receive more oxygen.
Contrary to popular belief that vegetarian diets are deficient in iron, you can benefit from healthy iron intake from green, leafy vegetables, cereals, dried fruit and legumes.
Even if you are able incorporate vegetarian diets a few times in a week, you can expect health benefits. As a start, try adding more vegetables, fruits and nuts to your diet.