Vegetarians are people who avoid all meat, meaning red meat, seafood and poultry. They do this for a variety of reasons such as being humane to animals and for other ethical reasons, but most vegetarians avoid these foods because the alternatives, which are mostly herbs, veggies and fruits, have more vegetarian health benefits. Vegetarian diets can just be as enjoyable as foods with meat despite popular belief.
The greatest of the vegetarian health benefits is reduced risk of heart attacks. This is because vegetarians usually have lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels are greatly increased by meat, especially red meat. Vegetarian diets are also low in saturated fats that are common in meat. Vegetables contain plant proteins, which are lower in cholesterol compared to animal proteins. Cholesterol and saturated fats are the major causes of heart disease, especially in those in their sunset years. This is because they clog the inside of the blood vessels over time. This leads to heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. Fruit and vegetable specifically have vegetarian health benefits by reducing the risk of getting ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction and angina which are common in older people. This is because fruits and vegetables contain folic acid, carotenoids, dietary fiber, potassium, flavonoids, magnesium, phytosterols, and other polyphenolic antioxidants that have vegetarian health benefits.
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Vegetarian diets rich in soluble fiber such as the ones found in oats, squash, carrots, dry beans and apples lowering serum cholesterol levels that might have been accumulated over the years, therefore adding people more years among other vegetarian health benefits. Fruits, nuts, whole grain and vegetables have flavonoids that have some biological properties and other vegetarian health benefits that are responsible for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in that they are antioxidants and so they protect LDL cholesterol from undergoing oxidation, effectively inhibiting formation of blood clots in the arteries and other blood vessels. The flavonoids also have a hypolipidemic effects and an anti-inflammatory effect – these are good for the health of the heart. Lower Blood Pressure
Another of the vegetarian health benefits is that vegetarians have lower blood pressure compared to those who eat meat, especially red meant. This is because vegetarian diets are low in salt – salt has been identified as the main cause of high blood pressure and hypertension. High blood pressure also occurs when blood tries to flow faster because of obstructed blood vessels. The obstruction is usually caused by cholesterol ingested from eating meat. Lower blood pressure is also maintained by the potassium which is found in fruits and vegetables such as apricots, papaya, bananas, cantaloupe, strawberries, eggplant, avocado, oranges, tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower, bell pepper, squash, turmeric, broccoli, parsley, spinach and lima beans among others. Control of Diabetes
Although diabetes does not have a cure yet, eating a vegetarian diet that is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates found in plant foods controls diabetes and has other vegetarian health benefits. Most doctors agree with this fact and advise their patients to consume legumes, vegetables, fruits and whole grains for controlling diabetes. These also have lower blood sugar and they completely eliminate the need for meds in some cases.
Prevention of Cancer
Another of the vegetarian health benefits is that it vegetarian diets help in the prevention of cancer which is very important because cancer has no cure. Almost all cancers, especially epithelial cancers, can be prevented with regular consumption of fruits and vegetables. Foods such as cruciferous vegetables, herbs and fruits have cancer-protective phytochemicals such as flavonoids, carotenoids, ellagic acid, sulfide compounds, isoflavones, isothiocyanates glucarates, phenolic acids, phthalides, phytosterols, saponins and terpenoids among others.
Elimination of Toxins from the Body
Meat usually has a lot of toxins. Fruits and vegetables do not have preservatives as is the case with most packaged and/or processed foods. Vegetarians usually ingest organic foods that are grown without the chemicals responsible for toxin build-up in our bodies such as pesticides. Toxins cause skin problems, allergies, influenza, and a host of other ailments. In severe cases, they have been known to cause cancer and other serious medical conditions such as infertility.
Easier Digestion of Food
It is a fact that human beings have a challenging time digesting meat and fish. These are ‘heavy’ foods that take a lot of time and energy to digest. People who eat such foods eventually experience weakening of their digestive systems which brings such problems as inability to eliminate waste rapidly. This means their bodies have a hard time doing ‘self-cleaning’ and this leads to problems such as stomach and intestinal cancer. On the other hand, foods such as fruits and vegetables are easily and rapidly digested and other vegetarian foods that are rich in fiber have vegetarian health benefits in that they actually aid in digestion.
Improvement of Overall Health
Vegetarians enjoy many health benefits and they are less likely to be obese, their skins and other excretion systems work better and they have fewer toxins in their body. Although these vegetarian health benefits might not prevent diseases directly, it is easier for vegetarians to live longer and to have less sick days.