1. Reduce Your Risk of Disease
When you eliminate meat from your diet and instead consume a diet of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole-grains, you are more likely to eat fewer calories, less fat, and less cholesterol. Vegetarians are less likely to have problems with blood glucose levels, including diabetes than those who eat meat, as well.
A plant-based diet can help reduce your risk for heart disease, as well. The whole-grains, legumes, and plants included in a vegetarian diet have significantly less cholesterol, added sugars, saturated fats, and other unhealthy compounds than meat. A vegetarian diet can, therefore, lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. Vegetarians also have a much lower mortality rate due to heart disease.
Eating red meat has been linked to colon cancer, and those who opt for a vegetarian lifestyle have reduced rates of this and other types of cancer. Adherents to a healthy vegetarian diet eat more antioxidants and nutrients, which can help stave off cancer and other diseases.
2. Enjoy Other Aspects of Better Health
Animals products like meat, eggs, and dairy and the most significant source of dietary cholesterol, especially bad cholesterol, or LDL. Those who eat more fresh fruits and vegetables are also more likely to weigh less and have a healthier body mass index (BMI). You can eat more many more filling vegetables and fruits with fewer calories and be filled up by the high amount of dietary fiber as opposed to a diet high in meat and dairy.
The fiber in legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are also extremely beneficial for your digestive system and immune system. Dietary fiber supports your gut microflora, the beneficial bacteria in your body that promote healthy digestion and allow your immune system to flourish, as well.
3. Reduce Your Impact on the Earth
When you consume less meat and other animal products, you are putting less pressure on our environment. Livestock requires a significant amount of land, food, and water to live, and their waste can create negative impacts on our watersheds, as well. Animal products also require more fossil fuels to produce than plant-based products. Eating less meat means your demand on these portions of our food system is reduced, and every reduction plays a part in lowering our impact on the planet.
4. Eat Healthier Foods
The whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables that make up a healthy vegetarian diet are high in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, which can help all of the systems of your body function properly. Plant-based foods are an excellent way to stay healthy and support all your organs, muscles, and other tissues in their daily work of keeping you fit and healthy.
Those who opt to eat meat, especially processed meat products, are consuming chemical compounds that are known carcinogens. When you cook meat at very high temperatures, too, you are releasing toxic compounds that can be dangerous to your health.
5. Reduce Cruelty to Animals
Many animals that are raised for food are treated very poorly. Livestock often live their whole lives in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and most are never allowed to behave according to their natural instincts. By reducing your meat consumption, you are reducing the number of animals that live in these types of conditions and showing your compassion for the other creatures with whom we share our planet.
Eating a vegetarian diet does not automatically equate to perfect health but adhering to a whole-foods plant-based diet without meat can undoubtedly improve your health in many ways. It is essential that any diet be free from empty calories, added sugars, and processed foods in order to be healthy, and a vegetarian diet is no exception. But, when you eliminate meat from your eating plan, you will enjoy many of these benefits, and more, that show you care about your health as well as the health of our planet.