What Are The Benefits of Being a Vegetarian?
Nearly everyone has heard of or knows a vegetarian in their lives. However, the concept can seem mysterious when you’re not a part of that kind of lifestyle. There are many myths surrounding vegetarianism and how it works, so to dispel some of these myths, here is a simple definition of being vegetarian as well as what benefits you can expect from trying it yourself.
What is a vegetarian?
A vegetarian is someone who decides to limit their consumption of animal based products. You can choose to abstain from animal products entirely – these people are called vegans. They don’t eat anything that comes from an animal and many don’t use anything in their lives that might have been produced from and animal or animal-related products (i.e. leather, honey, etc.).
Or a vegetarian can simply choose to limit their consumption of meats, but still have dairy products and/or eggs.
There are also vegetarians that eat fish, but no other meat products. The term vegetarian has become a very fluid concept, with even the idea of flexitarianism coming up as an alternative. This is when a person is vegetarian sometimes, but then eats meat sometimes too.
What are the benefits of becoming a vegetarian?
One of the first things that compel many people to be vegetarian is the animals that they used to eat. They may feel that killing an animal to eat it is not a necessary act, so in their decision to not eat meat, they are helping to protect animal rights and decrease animal suffering.
Along the same thinking, these kinds of vegetarians also notice the waste that is produced by animals that are being bred for eating, and feel that not eating meat will help to reduce this pollution.
Since vegetarians do not eat animal products, they are not consuming cholesterol or saturated fats which can help to reduce the risk for heart disease in many vegetarians.
Increased intake of vitamins and minerals
They are also eating more fruits and vegetables which can help to increase their antioxidant, vitamin and mineral intake, helping to increase immune system function, cancer protection, and overall health.
A vegetarian is also more likely to not have problems with obesity when they are following a balanced diet. Because they’re not eating as much fat from animals, they tend to eat fewer calories. There are also many vegetarians that are more concerned about their overall health, so they tend to exercise more in addition to their eating habits.
Even if you don’t want to give up meat products and become vegetarian, many people can see some of the same diet related benefits from eating meatless meats a few times per month or per week. In addition, eating vegetarian tends to be less expensive when compared to the costs of meats as well as safer when you consider the possibility of food poisoning from undercooked meats.
All in all, being a vegetarian is certainly more challenging in a world that still likes to eat meat, but most of the animal kingdom eats this way, so there’s no reason not to give it a try – even just once in a while.