World vegetarian day is celebrated on October 1 every year all over the globe with an aim to raise awareness about the significance of good health and environmental benefits of following a vegetarian diet. India as a country largely follows vegetarianism by nature, it also has a significant number of the non-vegetarian populations too. In recent times, a huge number of famous personalities are following and endorsing a vegetarian diet. There are many reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet- these include concern for animal welfare and/or the environment, cultural, religious and health factors. Your ‘why’ is likely to determine what type of vegetarian diet you follow. Typically a vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, as well as animal by-products such as gelatin.
Read through this article to get an overview of the significance of following a vegetarian diet.
- Lower cholesterol levels – Cutting out meat can markedly reduce fat intake, especially saturated fats- which has been linked to clogged arteries and coronary heart disease. A study by the vegetarian society claims that a balanced vegetarian diet contains up to twice as much as fiber as the national average diet, and soluble fiber can help to keep cholesterol under control.
- Increases life span – Though there are many factors that would attribute to an increased lifetime and adopting a vegetarian diet is one factor you can follow. The more you eat fruits or vegetables, the lesser is the toxin and chemical build up in your body, thus facilitating more healthy years and a longer lifespan.
- Gives a healthy skin – balanced veggie diets can also come with external benefits, packing in lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support healthy hair, skin and nails. Chomping on carotenoid packed vegetables- those with a dark green, red and orange hue- are great for preventing UV light damage, which can lead to melanoma, wrinkles and dry skin.
- Reduces risk of diabetes – Non-vegetarians usually experience extreme levels of blood sugar, sometimes very high, just after consumption. This can be avoided and a constant flow of blood sugar cab be maintained if the non-vegetarians swap over to a vegetarian diet. A healthy vegetarian diet is easy to absorb, is nutritious and contains less fatty acids.
- High in fiber content and lowers the risk of obesity- Fruits and vegetables also contain high fiber, which is necessary for proper digestion. It helps improve body metabolism and helps in fast elimination of toxins and other chemicals from the body. Vegetarian foods are usually water based, which helps in maintaining the required liquids in the body.
- Improves mental health – several pieces of evidence have disclosed that people who follow a vegetarian diet are happier than their non-vegetarian counterparts. It is also discovered that vegetarians had low scores on depression tests and mood profiles. The freshness of natural produce bound to detoxify the mind and body and keep your thoughts positive and uplifts mental health.
How to eat a well balanced vegetarian diet-
- Include protein sources such as soya, pulses, beans, nuts seeds and dairy products.
- Eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Include whole grains.
- Choose cold-pressed, unsaturated oils, where possible and nuts and seeds including flax, chia, and walnuts.
- Include mineral rich foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals as well as whole grains.
- Vegetarians need to ensure they get all the key nutrients the body needs.
- So anyone who is thinking to go veggie should follow a balanced diet, with five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, plenty of complex carbohydrates and antioxidants, as well as lower saturated fat and cholesterol.
To conclude , vegetarian foods have a lot more benefits than we have actually discussed in this article. Adopting a vegetarian diet can be ideal way to stay healthy and content. A vegetarian diet is a complete diet which is imbued with vast reserves of fiber, vitamins, minerals, proteins, unsaturated fats and organic phytochemicals. This is why vegetarians have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. While it is also easy to cook, readily available and easy for the system to digest. Now it is time to value the health incentives of vegetarian food, not just for our healthy living, but also to maintain all flora and fauna on our earth.
By Chief Dietician
Mrs. Swati Awasthi