Preventing Disease with a Vegetarian Lifestyle – Introduction

Preventing Disease with a Vegetarian Lifestyle – Introduction

Many people are interested in changing their eating lifestyles to include some type of vegetarianism. Health food experts report that people who eliminate meat and instead get their protein, carbohydrates and nutrition from plant foods, such as beans, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables will live longer, and healthier lives than their meat-eating counterparts.

Key Statistics

  • People who eat a plant-based diet have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cancers.
  • People who regularly consume meat have a higher risk of cancer and disease.
  • Vegetarian men live an average of 9.5 years longer and vegetarian women an average of 6.1 years longer than meat eaters do.
  • Human carnivores have the highest body weight for their age and vegans have the lowest, on average they are 30 pounds lighter.
  • Vegetarians are less likely to develop food allergies and consume fewer of the hormones and antibiotics that are administered to farm animals and passed on to people in food products.
  • High intake of plant foods results in a better mood, more energy, and feelings of calm and happiness.
  • Plant foods contain libido-boosting properties, and vegetarian diets results in lower body weight that increases the release of sex hormones.

Not all who call themselves “vegetarians” will eat the same things. There are different levels of vegetarianism that dictate what the individual can and cannot eat; here are the main types and the foods they include.

Vegan

This is the strictest type of vegetarians. People who call themselves “vegans” will not eat any animal meat or anything derived from animals, such as milk and eggs. This means that they do not eat red meat, white meat, fowl, or any type of fish. Dairy products and eggs are off limits as well.

They do not consume any kind of gelatin, honey or beeswax for food and don’t use products derived from animals, such as leather, wool, or silk. Animal by-products of any kind are avoided by vegans whose diet consists of fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes. They try to eat foods as fresh as possible from the source of where they were grown or produced.

Lacto Vegetarianism

These people choose not to eat red meat, white meat, fowl, fish, or eggs. They get their protein from beans, legumes and dairy products of various types such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products that come from cows or other grazing animals.

Ovo Vegetarianism

People who avoid eating red meat, white meat, fowl, and fish, but not eggs are known as ovo vegetarians. They also choose not to drink or eat dairy products derived from meat sources. For extra protein, ovo vegetarians eat fresh eggs from various types of fowl. Eggs are perfect sources of protein to aid the ovo vegetarian in the quest for a diet that provides enough protein to sustain them.

Lacto Ovo Vegetarianism

This is a vegetarian who elects not to eat red meat, white meat, poultry, or fish. They do, however, eat eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt that come from cows and other grazing animals. This provides them with a wider base to choose from when getting protein into their system.

Besides eggs and dairy products, beans and legumes can be excellent sources of dietary protein. It should be noted that most vegetarians are this type of vegetarian.

Pescatarian

This plan includes seafood and fish along with a diet high in fruits, grains, and vegetables. The seafood provides quality protein, along with essential fatty acids to help build the cell walls in the body.

Pescatarian do not eat poultry, red meat, or white meat. Some eat dairy and some do not.

Pollotarian

This is another partly vegetarian diet in which the person eliminates any type of red meat from the diet, but does include turkey, chicken, and other poultry along with fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and other non-meat items. They may or may not eat fish, seafood, and dairy.

Flexitarian

The flexitarian get most of their nutrition from plant-based sources like fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and legumes. They will occasionally include various meat products as part of their diet but do not do so on a regular basis. Contrary to popular belief, vegetarians can eat a well-balanced diet, as there are many quality plant based protein sources to choose. There are thousands of online recipe sources and recipe books available for all of these types of vegetarians.

Contrary to popular belief, vegetarians can eat a well-balanced diet, as there are many quality plant based protein sources to choose. There are thousands of online recipe sources and recipe books available for all of these types of vegetarians.

Evidence exists vegetarian diets can help to prevent various chronic diseases. This occurs for various reasons, but a lot is attributed to the extraordinary nutrient density of plant foods. Plant foods are created by nature and provide not only healthy sustenance for the human body, they are also nutrient dense and offer a variety of micro-nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants along with the essential macro-nutrients, carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.

However, plant foods go beyond in that they exclude harmful elements the body does not need, and in this way help to support human health even further.

In the next installment, we will look at how vegetarianism can help with preventing heart disease.

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

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