From our mood to our immune system, the vegetarian lifestyle provides us with a vast array of health perks. Professional Holistic Health specialist, nutritionist, raw chef and life coach, Ms Geeta Sidhu-Robb is the founder and CEO of Nosh Detox, the UK’s first home delivery service of non-pasteurised juices and meal plans. Here she gives us the top 10 health benefits that arise as a result of being a vegetarian:
1. Our Mood
Research has revealed that vegetarians may be happier than their meat-eating counterparts. In fact it was discovered that vegetarians had lower scores on depression tests and mood profiles when compared to fish and meat-eaters. Three is an element of freshness to most vegetarian dishes, especially when it comes to organic produce – so this is bound to purify our minds and keep our thoughts positive.
2. Fighting Disease
When done right, vegetarian diets are naturally low in saturated fats, and cholesterol. They have been shown to reduce heart disease risk and what’s more, data shows conclusively that vegetarians suffer less disease caused by a modern Western diet (e.g., coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity type 2 diabetes, diet-related cancers, diverticulitis, constipation, and gall stones, among several others). Why? This can be attributed to a higher intake of fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants, flavonoids, and carotenoids.
3. Lean Figure
A bonus to sticking to a vegetarian diet is the positive effect it has on our figure. Vegetarians typically weigh less as a result of a diet comprised of fewer calories in the form of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits,
and vegetables. Vegetarians are also generally more aware of healthy food and so eat better.
Further emphasising what I was saying about the vegetarian diet, especially organically, being purer, it is of course far less in toxicity. Foodborne illnesses, bacteria, parasites, and chemical toxins are more common in commercial meat, poultry, and seafood when compared with plant foods, (particularly organic fruits and vegetables). Vegetarians also eat less processed food as a rule.
5. Saving The Planet
A plant-based diet is better for the planet as it requires less energy and farmland to feed a vegetarian. By a factor of thousands.
6. Sight & Looks
As well as keeping the figure desirable, vegetarians tend to have better vision and less macular degeneration and all that extra collagen leads to better skin – what more could you want?
7. Money Saving
Plant foods tend to be less expensive, saving on overall costs. It’s also much more filling as it has so much more fibre and is nutrient dense. So you eat less and stay full for longer.
8. Better Athletic Performance
While most active individuals focus on protein intake, they should Instead follow a high-carbohydrate, good-fat, and vitamin and mineral-rich vegetarian diet for optimum sports performance. Conflicting studies exist, but the number of world-class vegetarian sportsmen continues to rise, Lewis Hamilton for example has recently spoken of his mission to go vegan.
9. Supporting Animal Rights
Ethical reasons can be a consideration when choosing a vegetarian diet. And all that moral superiority.
Vegetarians have been found to enjoy longer and healthier lives when compared to meat-eaters.
Ensuring you get all of the nutrients you need
Vegetarian diets are packed full of essential nutrients, but in the absence of meat, it is vitally important that we make sure we are still consuming a the correct amounts of proteins in other forms. Protein is made up of small parts called amino acids, which aid your metabolism and help to keep you muscles, skin and organs healthy. Eggs are a great source of proteins for vegetarians, and are often used as a breakfast option for athletes – especially boxers. Vegan options include nuts, peanut butter, seeds, grains and legumes. Iron is another key nutrient and plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells.
These can help to carry oxygen throughout your body. Good sources include or iron include beans, broccoli, raisins, wheat and tofu. Omega-3 fatty acids improve your heart health and brain function. Flaxseed meal and oil are two good vegetarian sources of omega-3. You can also look to plant sources. Finally, Zinc is vital to our immune system. A lot of cheeses contain zinc, but you can also find it in beans, nuts and soy products which contain fewer calories.