Every year on October 1, people around the world celebrate International Vegetarian Day. Although a vegetarian diet comprises a variety of wholesome as well as nourishing foods, what an individual eats will depend on the sort of diet they want to follow and their specific diet preferences. There are a lot of benefits because of which many people become vegetarians. Let’s have a look at those benefits.
Benefits of Becoming a Vegetarian
Following are the perks of transforming into a vegetarian:
1. Heart Health
Through your diet, you will be getting less cholesterol and saturated fat if you don’t consume meat, which lowers your risk of developing heart disease. It is believed that LDL or bad cholesterol levels are typically lower among vegetarians. People who are sticking to a vegetarian diet might as well cut their risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Blood Pressure Management
Following a vegetarian diet or consuming vegan food will not only lower your blood pressure but will also help keep it steady. Low levels of cholesterol, sodium, and fat are found in plant-based foods, helping lower the blood pressure. Additionally, the staples of a vegetarian diet, fruits, and veggies are rich in potassium, which lowers blood pressure.
3. Strengthened Bones
Vegetarians tend to have bones that are stronger than non-vegetarians because they get enough calcium in a variety of forms. Foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts, and soya beans are filled with calcium, an important component the body needs to keep bones from breaking easily.
4. Better Insulin Response
Although going vegan will not treat type 2 diabetes, if you consume a balanced vegetarian diet, it might help stabilise your blood sugar and increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. A healthy alternative that has a lower glycaemic index than non-vegetarian food items are foods such as whole grains, pulses, legumes, green vegetables, and fruits, which will help in enhancing the insulin response.
5. Weight Management
If you want to control your weight, stick to a basic vegetarian diet. Non-vegetarian meals with a lot of calories, like meat from chicken, lamb, or fish, among others, can make you gain weight if you eat them frequently. Even when eating a vegetarian diet, stay away from fried foods to efficiently maintain your weight.
6. Protection Against Cancer
Following a plant-based diet rich in antioxidants may reduce your chance of developing some types of cancer. Therefore, it is believed that the people who are consuming vegetarian foods face lower rates of cancer than those who are non-vegetarians.
7. Reduced Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
A collection of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome, which increases your risk of developing chronic diseases that include type 2 diabetes and heart disease, is less common in people who have a lot of plant-based foods on their plates.
8. Decreased Arthritic Pain
According to a few studies, patients with various forms of arthritis can benefit from a vegetarian diet. Compared to those who didn’t modify their food, individuals who were on a vegetarian diet reported having more energy and functioning better overall. A vegan diet’s increased levels of antioxidants, probiotics, and fibre as well as the absence of several items that cause inflammation helps in giving those benefits.
9. Managing Asthma
Veganism, in particular, may lessen asthmatic symptoms. Improvements were noticed by many participants who followed a vegan diet for a year, including a decreased need for medication.
Challenges Faced by Vegetarians
Though there are multiple benefits of eating veg foods but becoming a vegetarian is not that easy, you need to face a lot of challenges. The largest obstacle for many non-vegetarians is overcoming their former love of meat-based cuisine. Here are some of the most common challenges:
1. Restricted Food Choice
For vegetarians, dining out can be challenging. There are just not many options available at many eateries that don’t include meat. You end up looking up “vegetarian food near me” or ” vegan restaurants near me” every time.
2. Limited Vegan Stores
There are very few stores which offer vegan foods. So, it becomes very difficult for vegans to find a proper place from where they can buy the food items they prefer.
3. Costly Vegetarian/ Vegan Foods
Consuming a vegan diet might be pricey. Vegans might think they can escape high expenses by purchasing inexpensive fruit and foregoing expensive meat. However, it transpires that you usually get expensive options to choose from.
4. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 with vegetarian/vegan diet
Animal products such as Meat, eggs, and dairy products are major sources of Vitamin B12, so there is a high chance that a person on an exclusive vegetarian diet may get deficiency of vitamin B-12.
Vegetarian foods contain a lot of vitamins and proteins which are beneficial to people’s health. Vegan food also helps in keeping your energy levels high and brain sharp. World Vegetarian Day is celebrated to encourage people to opt for vegan food as it will save many animals’ lives. To gain from the above-listed advantages, you don’t necessarily need to be a devout vegetarian. Try being vegetarian for one or two meals a week. Learn about vegetarian recipes that meet your dietary requirements.