What Are the Benefits of Vegetarianism?

Felicia Dye

When considering the benefits of vegetarianism, many people focus on health. It has been found that vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels and fewer heart problems than those who eat meat. Consuming a vegetarian diet can also help to manage diabetes and to combat obesity. Beyond health, there are environmental benefits of being a vegetarian, because these foods generally require fewer resources to produce and production is associated with lower amounts of pollution.

Quinoa pomegranate fennel salad, a vegetarian dish.
Quinoa pomegranate fennel salad, a vegetarian dish.

There are numerous health benefits associated with being a vegetarian. For example, those who abstain from meat tend to experience fewer heart conditions than those who have a meat-inclusive diet. This is believed to be due in part to the higher amounts of cholesterol that are contained in meat. Some vegetarian foods, such as oats, dry beans, and nuts, appear to actually lower cholesterol and promote a healthy heart.

Livestock are said to be a large emitter of the greenhouse gas methane.
Livestock are said to be a large emitter of the greenhouse gas methane.

Obesity, which is a problem in many societies, may be addressed through a vegetarian diet. One of the benefits of vegetarianism is that it tends to result in slimmer people. This is believed to be due to a lower consumption of fat and calories. It must also be remembered that meats are harder for the body to break down than items such as fruits and vegetables. The energy that vegetarians save from easier digestion can then be applied to an increase in physical activity.

This spotlights another of the benefits of vegetarianism. It has been found that individuals who abstain from meat tend to have healthier overall lifestyles. For example, they often make better choices, such as drinking less alcohol and doing more exercise. These decisions help vegetarians to avoid health conditions that are related to poor lifestyle choices.

An ability to help manage diabetes is another of the health benefits of vegetarianism. People who suffer from diabetes must be more conscious of what they eat than those who do not have the disease. A vegetarian diet can eliminate some of the difficulty in making food choices. When such a diet is largely low in fat and high in carbohydrate and fiber content, studies show that blood sugar levels can be kept down.

The benefits of vegetarianism extend beyond the health ramifications. Connections can be made between the decision to abstain from meat and positive environmental effects. Raising livestock is generally a task that requires a significant amount of resources. By choosing a diet consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables, an individual helps to reduce the amount of non-renewable resources used for food production, such as water and land. This type of diet also helps to eliminate negative environmental effects, such as water pollution from animal waste runoff, deforestation, and methane emissions.

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