Vitality

8 Great Reasons That Vegetarian Diets Benefit Your Health (And The Planet)

In a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diatetics (AND), researchers have officially named vegetarian diets good for people of all ages, as well as the environment.

"Vegetarian diets leave a lighter carbon footprint," said report author Susan Levin, according to HealthDay. "The evidence has become really hard to ignore.”

vegetables Embracing a plant-based diet can benefit your health and the planet greatly Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Read: Vegetarian Diet Benefits: What Happens When You Quit Eating Meat?

We’ve listed eight advantages that come along with vegetarian meals.

HEALTH BENEFITS

  • By eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables, the world could avoid several million deaths per year by 2050, as Medical Daily previously reported.

  • Animal-free nourishment is naturally anti-inflammatory — it’s generally high in fiber, antioxidants and other phytonutrients, according to Forks Over Knives.

  • Vegetarians and vegans tend to weigh less.

  • Studies show that vegetarians generally have lower risks of obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, according to the report from the AND.

  • Research shows that Type 2 diabetes goes hand-in-hand with consuming a lot of animal protein, especially red and processed meat. Astonishingly, omnivores who ate meat once a week or more over a 17-year period had a 74 percent higher risk of diabetes.

  • The AND report also revealed that plant-based diets can also lower risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancers — including those of the prostate and gastrointestinal tract.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

  • When it comes to climate change, adopting vegetarian diets would cut food-related emissions by 63 percent, and vegan diets would cut them by 70 percent, The Guardian reported.

  • It takes far fewer resources — land, water, fuel and fertilizer — to produce a pound of kidney beans than a pound of beef, according to AND’s report.

Source: Melina V, Craig W, Levin S. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016.

Read more:

Tofu Vs. Meat: Are Vegan Options Really Healthy?

Vegan vs. Vegetarian Diets: How Each Will Impact Your Health

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