7 Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarianism has been around for generations, though it hasn’t always received the positive support that the practice has been getting in recent years. Previously, it was believed that giving up red meat, poultry, and fish caused people to develop deficiencies of certain vitamins, minerals, and protein. As more research has been done on the nutritional aspects of a vegetarian diet, studies have found that those necessary nutrients can be found in a variety of plant based foods from fruits and vegetables to nuts, berries, and whole grains.

Today, millions of people have begun to follow a vegetarian diet, but not all of them do so for the health benefits. Religious and financial concerns can also play a part in the decision to give up eating meat. While vegetarianism simply involves the decision to not eat meat, some choose to continue eating poultry and seafood. Vegans, on the other hand, won’t eat any meat, or any products derived from the farming of animals. This means products such as milk, cheese, eggs, and gelatin are off limits for a typical vegan.

1. Lower Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Eating a greater concentration of plant-based foods is ideal for reducing the risks of heart disease in general. A diet heavy with fresh produce reduces levels of inflammation in the body, which is the primary cause of cardiovascular disease. Plant-based foods are also high in fiber, which also works to promote greater heart health. For individuals with a family history of heart disease, this provides a very real hope of staving off the onset of cardiovascular problems. Even where genetics play a part, vegetarianism can help reduce the factors that can either cause or complicate a heart condition.

In a recent study shared by the Journal of American College of Cardiology, it was found that a diet high in the intake of plant-based foods significantly lowered the risk of developing coronary heart disease. In an earlier study, which was published in a 2015 edition of Permanente Journal, researchers found that vegetarian diets could lower obesity rates and positively affect high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels. Followed consistently, a vegetarian diet can also help reduce body mass, allowing individuals to better manage their weight.