Vegetarian diet

Eating is a major part of an individual’s lifestyle. Moreover, what a person eats is a major determinant of the type of life he lives. Eating and exercise are likewise considered as the determinants of the healthiness of an individual’s lifestyle. Nowadays, people are becoming ever more conscious of what they eat. More people are starting to watch what they eat. This is because the number of sicknesses and diseases that are associated with the food intake of people are growing in number. More importantly, the risk of such diseases has become more apparent in today’s time and age.

Numerous studies have been conducted to determine how people can improve their eating habits. Furthermore, such studies have attempted to determine how people can reduce the risk of certain diseases by changing what they eat. What has emerged from such researchers is that increasing the intake of plant-based foods is the best way to improving the eating habits of people and is the most effective way of reducing diseases. As such, many have turned to vegetarianism as a means of living a healthy lifestyle.

A vegetarian is defined as, “Someone living on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with or without the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or slaughter by-products. ” (Vegetarian Society, n. d) In spite of the growing popularity of vegetarianism, there still exist a large number of people who do not understand the benefits of vegetarian diets. Questions still abound with regards to the true benefits of being vegan.

Also, a lot of people still do not understand how eating a purely vegetarian diet can provide the same nutrients as a diet that contains meat. This paper will attempt to discuss the true health benefits of a vegetarian diet. In addition, the discussion will focus on how a vegetarian diet can provide the same nutritional benefits as a diet that contains meat. Basically, this paper will attempt to clear the common misconceptions about vegetarian diets and their health benefit Benefits of Vegetarian Diets According to Messina and Burke (1997):

“In the past, many viewed vegetarianism as strange and faddish but appropriately planned vegetarian diets are now recognized by many, including the American Dietetic Association, as being nutritionally adequate, and providing healthful benefits in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. ” Such statement shows how vegetarianism has long been misunderstood. At the same time Messina and Burke’s statement is able to show that vegetarian diets have been recognized for their health benefits particularly in the treatment of common chronic diseases.

This goes to show certain benefits of vegetarian diets. Vegetarian diets likewise reduce medical costs that are attributed to meat consumption. According to Barnard et al (1995), “The total direct medical costs in the United States attributable to meat consumption were estimated to be $30-60 billion a year, based upon the higher prevalence of hypertension, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, obesity and food-borne illness among omnivores compared with vegetarians.

” Studies have shown that a diet that consists of whole grains, vegetable, nuts, and fruits, as well as the avoidance of meat-based products and a regular exercise program can greatly reduce blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and obesity. These are but some of the common health benefits of vegetarian diets. Meeting the Nutritional Requirements However, the pervading concern of many is whether purely vegetarian diets can provide the same nutrients that a diet consisting of meat and vegetables gives. Basically, people question whether a purely vegetarian diet is as nutritionally adequate as a diet with meat.

This, in fact, is one of the reasons why people remain apprehensive about shifting to vegetarian diets. Meat is commonly considered as the primary source of protein. Such nutrient is a major component of an individual’s daily nutrition requirements. Thus, people are led to believe that without meat, they will not be able to meet their daily nutrition requirements. In effect, they think that a purely vegetarian diet is not healthy. On the contrary, a vegetarian diet can indeed suffice all the nutritional needs of an individual.

The protein that comes from meat can be supplied by a variety of vegetarian products. Vegetarian food products that can supply the protein needs of an individual include lentils and dry beans. Tofu, or soy bean curd can also provide protein. An adequate consumption of these two food types can provide the necessary daily protein requirements of an individual. More importantly, the consumption of such products can not only provide the protein, they eliminate the entry of bad cholesterol and fat. Meat products, most especially dark meats, are sources of cholesterol and fat.

However, since people need protein, they continue to eat meat in spite of the fact that meat contains such harmful nutrients. Thus, meat products have emerged as one of the primary sources of high-risk nutrients such as fat and cholesterol. It is for this reason that consuming vegetarian products is highly recommended. There is no truth to the conception that a vegetarian diet cannot provide all the necessary nutritional needs of an individual. Different vegetables and vegan products can provide all the nutrients that the body needs.

Moreover, such vegetarian products can help lower the risk of chronic ailments that are commonly associated with meat consumption. The primary point is that an individual need not consume a combination of meat and vegetables to live a healthy and nutritionally balanced life. There are vegetables that can provide the individual the nutrition that comes from meat without the harmful elements that come from consuming meat. Thus, a vegetarian diet can be healthier and at the same time, nutritious. This is the primary advantage of a vegetarian diet. Such diets lower, if not eliminate the risk, of common illnesses and diseases.

The risk of heart ailments, cancer, and other chronic diseases can be lowered by a well-balanced vegetarian diet. At the same time, such diet can suffice all the nutritional needs of the person. As such, the need for consuming meat products is eliminated. Therefore, a purely vegetarian diet is as healthy and nutritionally balanced as a diet containing meat. Furthermore, it must be noted that vegetarian diets are often time healthier and less risky than diets that include meat consumption. Vegetarianism is greatly advantageous especially when the health benefits are considered.

Healthy eating habits are an important aspect in a healthy lifestyle. A vegetarian diet is one way by which healthy and well-balanced eating habits can be achieved.

Works Cited:

Barnard ND, Nicholson A, and Howard JL. “The medical costs attributable to meat consumption. ” Prev Med 1995;24:646-55. Messina V, Burke K. “Position of The American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets. ” J Am Diet Assoc 1997; 97: 1317-21. Vegetarian Society. “Definitions. ” Information Sheet. n. d. 9 July 2007. Available from: http://www. vegsoc. org/info/definitions. html.

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