Most of us have concerns and doubts about giving vegetarianism a shot. But this may just be because we’re not aware of the prolific perks it can potentially offer us.
We do not know that simply changing what’s on our plate can change everything around us in a positive way. Therefore, we tend to hum and haw about converting to a more healthy diet, and in the process never end up doing so.
Embracing a vegetarian way of life entails much more than not taking the lives of animals; it also empowers us to become more ethical and empathetic toward humankind and the environment. On that note, this article lists a few pointers that will give you simple insights into the green end of the spectrum.
Here are nine too-good-to-be-true benefits of being a vegetarian:
A plant-based diet can have immediate effects on physical appearance. As you gradually move into a greener diet, you can bid farewell to your acne and say hello to a more supple and glowing complexion.
Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins, which play a fundamental role in healthier skin. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidants, water, chlorophyll and Vitamin E are found in nutritious plant foods that vegetarians consume on a regular basis. Thus, an increased consumption of such foods can be the ultimate key to radiant skin without having to invest in overpriced skincare treatments.
As vegetarian foods mostly contain fiber, healthy fats and water, there is no doubt that your digestive health can improve after switching to such a diet.
An increased consumption of fiber will “keep foods and waste moving smoothly through your system, avoiding both constipation and diarrhea”, according to Everyday Health. Regular bowel movements indicate a healthy digestive system.
Flavorful veggies, fruits
What would a raw snapper fillet taste like? What about uncooked chicken breast? Inedible and very unappetizing, to say the least. Most raw veggies and fruits, on the other hand, don’t need seasoning or a marinade to taste good. Carrots and celery can be washed and eaten as a snack in their original form due to their inherent juiciness, while sliced capsicums and apples add a natural zing to your bowl of salad.
Veggies like these taste scrumptious when dipped into cream cheese or hummus, and fruits can be dipped in peanut butter for an extra kick of flavor.
Reduced risk of chronic diseases
As mentioned in Harvard Health Publications, vegetarians seemingly ingest less saturated fat and cholesterol. Instead, they take in more vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium and plant chemicals (phytochemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids. This decreases the cumulative LDL (bad) cholesterol in their body, while also bringing down their blood pressure and body mass index (BMI), which serve as measures that are linked with longevity and reduce the risk of contracting chronic diseases.
To back this up, Tufts University Medical School registered dietitian Johanna Dwyer says: “Data is strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, atonic [reduced muscle tone] constipation, lung cancer and alcoholism. Evidence is good that risks for hypertension, coronary heart disease, type two diabetes, and gallstones are lower”, as quoted by the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
Smaller carbon footprint
A carbon footprint is the measure of human impact on the earth based on greenhouse gas emissions from daily activities, which contributes to climate change; turning vegetarian or vegan can shrink your carbon footprint and eventually help to mitigate climate change.
A study conducted by Climatic Change found that the dietary greenhouse gas emissions for regular meat-eaters (women and men) were 50 and 54 percent higher than for vegetarians, and 99 and 102 percent higher than for vegans.
Currently, 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from agricultural practices, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Thus, if agricultural adjustments were to be made, including a reduction of global beef consumption, annual carbon emissions from agriculture could decrease over 90 percent by 2030, as suggested by a study from Climate Focus and California Environmental Associates.
It’s a win-win solution; once you turn vegetarian or vegan, not only are you healthier, but the planet will be too.
Ultimate mood booster
As quoted by health.com, economists and health researchers at the University of Warwick examined the eating habits of 80,000 people in Great Britain and found that mental and emotional welfare was contingent on the amount of fruits and vegetables one consumed. That is, participants’ moods seemed to be boosted as their daily intake of fruit and vegetables increased. So, if you’re on the lookout to contain your temper, you can rely on veggie goodies like berries, oats and mushrooms.
Vegetarian food is more than just bran, broccoli and bananas. As a matter of fact, there is a panoply of quality meatless foods waiting to be discovered across the world. They’re flavorful, radiant and brimming with texture and taste. In short, they will make you want to channel your inner Jamie Oliver.
That’s right, vegetarian diets are perhaps some of the most innovative out there. With various recipes available in cookbooks as well as online, there’s no dearth of vegetarian meal ideas for us to incorporate into our day-to-day kitchen experiments. Keen vegetarians fall back on a variety of healthy and wholesome options such as chickpeas, quinoa, millet, lentils and polenta to create tasty veggie meals.
Healthier body weight
While embracing vegetarianism doesn’t guarantee that you will lose all the weight you have been yearning to shed, it does make it easier for you to maintain a stable body weight throughout your life. When you begin to think about it, you do not see many obese or overweight vegetarians.
Greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals and important phytochemicals, and they also happen to be very low in calories. As you withdraw from eating processed junk food such as bacon, chicken nuggets and hamburgers, an opportunity opens up for you to start eating healthy. This allows you to switch to more nutritious alternatives such as muesli, sandwiches and smoothie bowls.
You can still eat eggs, honey, dairy
Vegetarianism does not entirely limit you from consuming animal products. Dairy-based foods and beverages, such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, are still allowed in this lifestyle. The same goes for eggs and honey. This is a great preliminary step before turning vegan because it allows beginners to transition into a total plant-based diet at an organic pace.
However, there are other dietary stages that people can go through before entering a complete vegetarian or vegan diet: lacto-ovo vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry or fish, but still eat eggs and dairy; lacto vegetarians do not consume meat, poultry, fish or eggs, but still eat dairy; while ovo vegetarians eat eggs, but no meat, poultry, fish or dairy products. The most well-known streams of partial vegetarians are pescatarians, who avoid meat but eat fish, and pollo vegetarians, who stay away from meat but eat chicken.