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Being Vegetarian

Being Vegetarian

  • September 30, 2019

The philosophy around going meatless or adopting a vegetarian lifestyle has become increasingly popular. People are being more aware of foods that are nutrient dense which helps them to stay healthy and fit. So is switching towards a plant-based food diet is the best way to go? A growing number of people seem to think so.

Before we proceed in to the discussion of “Should people become Vegetarian?” it’s important to understand what vegetarianism actually means as well as the benefits and potential risks associated with it. Within the group of vegetarians there are a lot of classes.

Vegetarian Types

  1. Vegan: people who do not consume animal products or animal by-products like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk/milk products, honey etc. Also, they don’t use animal products like silk, wool, leather etc for commercial use. In other words, these are individuals who not only do not eat animals, but who also choose not to use products that come from animals.
  2. Lacto-Vegetarian: These individuals don’t consume meat, poultry, fish or eggs. But, they readily consume milk and milk products like yogurt, and cheese. Most of the Vegetarians in South Asian subcontinent fall under this category.
  3. Ovo-Vegetarian: They avoid meat, poultry, fish and DAIRY. But, allow themselves to consume eggs.
  4. Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: People under this level restricts meat, poultry and fish. However, they consume egg as well as dairy. This is the most common type of vegetarian across the globe.

Benefits of Vegetarianism

A vegetarian diet is naturally low in fats and high in fibre, but being vegetarian has its own risks. So no matter at what level you happen to fall, and no matter what reason you have chosen to commit to it, there are both pros and cons of being vegetarian. Here are few of them:

  • Improves colon health: Fibres present in a plant-based vegetarian diet helps to maintain a healthy colon by improving the good bacteria within it. That’s because fibre is what helps feed those healthy bacteria. It also helps to cleanse the colon when supplemented with optimal water intake. Why? Because fibre can act like a chimney sweeper and remove any excess waste. On the flip side, meats and poultry takes time to digest and thus disrupts the natural balance in the body. They also don’t feed the friendly bacteria in our guts which are required to maintain a healthy gut lining. Risk of constipation and colon cancer decreases due to fibre.
  • Improves the heart rate: A vegetarian diet can help lower cholesterol, and blood pressure, aiding in the prevention of heart disease. A vegetarian diet can help to achieve these benefits as long as it includes food sources with potassium and dietary fibre, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.
  • Reduces risk of Kidney stones: Diet high in animal proteins leads body to excrete calcium, oxalate and uric acid, which are the major components of kidney stones. A diet high in animal protein have higher risk of Kidney.
  • Reduces risk of Cancer: Vegetarians show up to 40% less chance of developing cancer. Also, diets high in animal protein were associated with a 4-fold increase in cancer death risk compared to high protein diets based on plant-derived protein. Consuming enough fruits and vegetables as part of vegetarian diet will help to build up strong immunity and fight cancer cells.
  • Lowers risk of Diabetes: Consumption of meat and processed meat increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes in both men and women. On the other hand, vegetarian diets rich in whole grains, nuts, legumes and fibres improves the glycaemic control in the people who already have diabetes.
  • Weight loss: Vegetarian diet being high in fibre and low in fat helps one to reduce weight or at least prevent gaining those extra pounds from the high fat non vegetarian food.

There are a lot of pros which we get by being a vegetarian but every good thing come with some cons as well, vegetarian food lacks several nutrients which do effect standard growth of the person. Also there is myth that vegetarians live longer. Undoubtedly choosing high fibrous fresh vegetarian meal is the best choice. Choosing not-so-healthy vegetarian meals coupled with a faulty lifestyle like excessive smoking, frequent drinking, lack of physical activity etc., can decrease your life expectancy.

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