Monday, December 18th, 2017

Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

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Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

While many benefits have been cited as part of a vegetarian diet, the health benefits are perhaps some of the most immediately noticeable. Here are some of the purported health benefits of a vegetarian diet.

1. Lower cholesterol

Cholesterol, the fatty substance that is actually manufactured by the body but can clog arteries in excess, is said to be reduced on a vegetarian diet. This makes sense, as cholesterol is found in animal-based foods (such as red meat, egg yolks, and whole-fat dairy products.)

2. Lower cancer risk

In 1997, a significant report by a major cancer research center recommended a diet consisting mostly of plant foods and limited grilled, pickled, cured, or smoked meats (including fish). While this specifically addresses preserved and processed meats, it’s worth noting.

The carcinogenic nature of nitrites and nitrates, common meat preservatives found in hot dogs, lunch meat, pepperoni, and so forth, is well-known. And experts have been warning about the carcinogenic nature of grilled meats for some time. A vegetarian diet, of course, avoids these types of meat. An interested question to explore might be whether the consumption of organic, free-range meat increases cancer risk.

And it’s not just the avoidance of meat that can lower cancer risk. Some fruits and vegetables themselves are said to provide protection against cancer. There are more than thirty plant foods said to have this protective factor – among them are broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, basil, garlic, tomatoes, and some berries.

3. Lower blood pressure

Interestingly, vegetarians as a group consistently experience lower blood pressure than their meat-eating peers. Some sources suggest that this may be due to the lower salt consumption that is usually a component of vegetarian diets. Others point out the lower overall weight and body fat of vegetarians as the reason for lower blood pressure.

4. Lower risk of cardiovascular disease

Some sources say that an average male can reduce his risk of heart attack by 35 percent if he stops eating meat.

5. Control diabetes

Avoidance of meat is not the only factor of a vegetarian diet. Most vegetarian diets include whole foods and less salt and sugar than meat-eating diets, which is a recommended dietary style for diabetics or those who tend toward diabetes. The less saturated fat intake and no animal fat intake associated with a vegetarian diet are also significant for those who need to control their weight to avoid diabetes.

6. Longer life

Studies show that vegetarians actually live longer than meat eaters. This may be due to the health benefits noted above!

 

One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;‘ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.
Henry David Thoreau

Behold I have given you herb yielding seed. To you it shall be for food.
Genesis 1:29

Be not among the winebibbers nor the riotous eaters of animal flesh.
Proverbs 20:23

Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own.
Robert Louis Stevenson

My situation is a solemn one. Life is offered to me on condition of eating beefsteaks. But death is better than cannibalism. My will contains directions for my funeral, which will be followed not by mourning coaches, but by oxen, sheep, flocks of poultry, and a small traveling aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarfs in honor of the man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures.
George Bernard Shaw

I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other….
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thou shalt not kill” does not apply to murder of one’s own kind only, but to all living beings; and this Commandment was inscribed in the human breast long before it was proclaimed from Sinai.
Leo Tolstoy

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.
Mahatma Gandhi

It is far better to be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for animals…The unnatural eating of flesh meats is as polluting as the heathen worship of devils, with its sacrifices and its impure feasts, through participation in it a man becomes a fellow eater with devils…Those who use the most frugal fare are the strongest, the healthiest and the noblest…
“If any righteous man does not burden his soul by the eating of flesh, he has the advantage of a rational motive.

Clement of Alexandria, Saint. AD ?150-?215

The vegetarian movement ought to fill with gladness the souls of those who have at heart the realization of God’s kingdom upon earth, not because vegetarianism itself is such an important step towards the realization of this kingdom (all real steps are equally important or unimportant), but because it serves as a criterion by which we know that the pursuit of moral perfection on the part of man is genuine and sincere.
“[For] [i]f a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.

Leo Tolstoy

 


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