The Advantages of a Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarian diets are gaining in popularity as more and more people are becoming concerned about health and healthy eating.
There are different types of vegetarians:-

- Semi-vegetarians - These people cannot really be classed as true vegetarians because they have only cut out red meat and still eat white meat and fish.

- Fruitarians - Do not eat any animal products and eat a vegan diet which is limited to eating the ripe fruit of trees and plants.

- Vegans - Do not eat any animal produce at all.

- Lacto-vegetarians - Do not eat meat or eggs but do consume dairy products.

- Lacto-ovo-vegetarians - Do not eat meat products but do consume eggs and dairy products.
There are many benefits of following a vegetarian diet and it is easy to find vegetarian recipes online whichever type of vegetarian you are.
Benefits of cooking vegetarian recipes and cutting out meat products include:-
1. A lower risk of disease - Cutting out meat and eating more vegetarian recipes will cut your risk of contracting coronary heart disease and strokes. This is due to the fact that vegetarian recipes and diets are low in saturated fats, high in good fats and high in antioxidants. An average American man can cut his risk of heart disease from 50% to 15% if he cuts meat out of his diet.

2. A longer life - On average, vegetarians live about 7 years longer than meat eaters and vegans live up to 15 years longer.

3. A vegetarian diet is high in antioxidants because of the high fruit and vegetable content of vegetarian recipes. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage by cancer causing free radicals, such as pollution and smoking, and help reduce the signs and effects of ageing.

4. Lower cholesterol - Good fats in nuts and seeds in vegetarian recipes help to lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol. Vegetarians tend to eat more soya protein which contains iso flavones which also lower cholesterol. On average, vegetarians have 14% lower cholesterol levels than meat eaters.

5. Lower risk of blood clots - Iso flavones in soya protein reduce the risk of blood clots.

6. Lower risk of bone loss and therefore osteoporosis - Studies have shown that vegetarian women are at a lesser risk of osteoporosis.

7. Weight loss - Vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat eaters because vegetarian recipes and diets are lower in saturated fats and calories.

8. Lower risk of Cancer - Studies have shown that plant based diets help to protect against many types of cancer and soya protein inhibits tumour growth.
Of course, if you are going to cut out meat and eat chips, chocolate and cheese all day then you are not going to benefit from any of these. To have a healthy vegetarian diet you need to include the following in your diet and vegetarian recipes:-

- Wholewheat products and wholegrains

- Nuts, seeds and legumes

- A wide variety of fruit and vegetables

- Dairy or soya products
Of course, for many people the real reason they become vegetarian is their concern over animal welfare, and anyone who has visited an abatoir knows that this reason is very compelling. However, even if you are not moved by the cruel way that many animals are treated before they arrive on your plate, there are good moral and ethical reasons for not eating meat.
Have fun experimenting with vegetarian recipes.

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