A Guest Post By Helen Sanders of Health Ambition
It seems like more and more people are becoming vegetarians these days. Perhaps you’ve even considered it yourself but didn’t follow through. Maybe you need some more convincing to give up those tempting chicken burgers and barbecued ribs. There are so many benefits of adopting a vegetarian diet—not just for animals, but for your body and the planet, too. Even if you aren’t ready to go 100% vegetarian, gradually making your way there will make a difference.
Vegetarian Diets Help the Environment
You’ve likely heard about vegetarian diets being better for the environment. How exactly is that so? Well, animal agriculture is actually one of the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions which lead to increased rates of global warming. As we all know, global warming is currently threatening our planet by increasing the number of natural disasters and endangering certain animal species. If we want to help slow the rate of global warming, we can do so through our own personal choices.
Not only is global warming an issue, but raising animals for consumption also takes up a lot of resources—including land, water, and grains. As a vegetarian, you would be reducing harmful emissions and saving resources (which can then be used to alleviate the global food shortage, for example).
Of course, going vegetarian directly saves animal lives, too. It’s estimated that each vegetarian prevents an average of about 200 animals from being slaughtered for consumption each year. If you’ve always wanted to help save animals in some way, a vegetarian diet may be your best option.
Vegetarian Diets Are Great For Your Body
As for the benefits of a vegetarian diet for your health, the list is endless. While meat may taste great and be high in protein, plant-based foods are easier on the digestive system and offer some things that meat cannot. Vegetarians typically consume more vitamins C and E, fiber, folic acid, magnesium and phytochemicals than meat-eaters. Phytochemicals are of special interest because they are found only in plant-based foods. They are compounds (some of which are antioxidants) that have numerous benefits for the body.
As a result of their increased consumption of vitamins, minerals, and compounds, vegetarians have lower cholesterol and decreased the risk of cancers, gallstones, obesity, heart disease and appendicitis. It’s important to take this into consideration, especially since heart disease and cancer are currently two of the leading causes of death in North America.
You may be worried about some of the nutrients in meat which may be missing from plants. The good news is that there isn’t much to worry about. Contrary to popular belief, vegetarians can still get enough protein from their diet. Many vegetables, beans, and legumes contain high amounts of protein. Some of these include tofu, kidney beans, and broccoli.
Clearly, a vegetarian diet has numerous benefits for your body. It’s not just on the inside, though. A vegetarian diet is linked to having a clearer complexion since there is usually less inflammation and fewer saturated fats in your body. So, you’ll see the difference outside and feel the difference inside.
It Improves Your Mood
Mental well-being is just as important as physical well-being. Currently, depression affects millions of Americans and diagnoses are increasing. Antidepressants are also known to have adverse side effects. What can you do to improve your mood naturally? Well, studies show a vegetarian diet may do just that. This may be because it is lower in arachidonic acid (a compound found in red meat and poultry), which has been linked to symptoms of depression.
Being Vegetarian Saves You Money
Still, need more convincing? Most of us are constantly looking for ways to save money. Vegetarians save more on food than meat-eaters. It makes sense, too, as the most expensive item on any restaurant menu is usually a type of meat. You’ll also save money indirectly since you won’t have to spend as much on medicines or healthcare.
In short, going vegetarian helps the environment, nourishes your body, protects your mind and saves you money. That’s enough for me to make the switch! How about you? At least consider it seriously. We are not forcing anyone to do something they don’t want to do; we would just like everyone to understand the benefits of a vegetarian diet and why now is the best time to go vegetarian.