Are Vegetarians Healthier than the General Population?
Studies have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that a well-balanced vegetarian diet can improve your health by lowering the risk of high blood pressure (stroke), diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer – plus add years to your life expectancy.
When vegetarians suffer from health problems, it’s generally because they’re eating too many processed and sugar-laden foods and are experiencing obesity and other health problems. A well-planned vegetarian diet can protect you against these problems.
Meat eaters tend to consume saturated fats and have a higher level of LDL (bad) cholesterol. They also suffer from high blood pressure and tend to have a shorter life span.
While adapting a vegetarian diet can’t completely protect you against the major chronic diseases, you can better protect yourself with a plant-based diet. Evidence that vegetarians enjoy a lower heart disease exists as well as better long-term health.
Cancer is another disease in which vegetarians enjoy less risk. There have been hundreds of studies performed that advocate eating plenty of fruits and veggies can lower the risk of contracting various cancers.
Colon cancer is one of the main types of cancers which have lower instance levels than in meat eaters. It’s not yet proven that avoiding animal by-products such as milk and eggs have an impact on lowering colon cancer, but avoiding meat is a definite plus.
Type 2 diabetes is more often found in meat-eaters than vegetarians. A plant-based diet can significantly reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, but obesity and the amount of exercise plays a significant part in the studies.
Bone health is a concern – especially for the aging population. Many people are reluctant to go vegetarian because they fear the loss of calcium may put them at risk for osteoporosis and other bone diseases. A typical vegetarian usually gets the necessary calcium requirements for bone health, but if you’re a vegan, you should monitor your calcium intake carefully.
While protein can be a problem in some vegetarian and vegan diet plans, the required nutrients can be obtained by consuming dairy products and eggs. Lentils, nuts, soy and whole grains are also excellent sources of protein.
Vitamin B12 (found in animal products) is included in eggs and other dairy products, so the typical vegetarian finds it easy to get the necessary requirements. Ask your health care provider about adding a Vitamin B12 supplement if you need extra help.