You don’t have to be a strict vegetarian to experience better health. Believe it or not, cutting back on meat (even just a little) has a ton of great benefits. And if you think skipping the meat isle means you have to skimp on taste, you couldn’t be more wrong. Besides being amazing for your overall health, a plant-based diet, rich in veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds can be really delicious.
There are many types of plant-based diets, including:
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: No meat, but chooses to eat diary and eggs
- Lacto-vegetarian: No meat or eggs, but chooses to eat dairy
- Vegan: Absolutely no animal products, including dairy and honey
There’s also pescatarian, with someone not eating meat, but choosing to eat fish. And semi-vegetarian or flexitarian, meaning the person does occasionally eat meat, but is mostly vegetarian. The gist of this is that you can choose what suits you.
Still not convinced? Here are 6 great reasons that might convince you to eat more vegetarian meals.
Reduces joint pain
Eating a plant-based diet is highly associated with an anti-inflammatory diet. A recent study of 600 participants following a vegan diet for three weeks showed a significant reduction in a marker of inflammation called C-reactive protein (CRP). Other studies of vegan diets have demonstrated an improvement in joint pain and swelling, grip strength, and duration of joint stiffness. That’s not really all that surprising, as eating less meat means eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. These foods are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that help decrease inflammation, thus reducing joint pain and dysfunction.
Lowers your risk of heart disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, so lowering your cardiovascular disease risk factors can play a huge role in increasing your likelihood of living longer. Studies of those on a plant-based diet have shown a significantly lower risk of coronary artery disease and stroke. People who eat less meat will not only decrease the risk of a heart attacks, but also lower their chances of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Stave off cancer
The link between meat consumption and the risks of certain cancers is getting harder to deny. Research has found that a high intake of red and processed meat is associated to breast, colon, prostate, pancreatic, and gastric cancers. When it comes to lower cancer rates, all the best studies show that vegetarians fare much better than meat-eaters. Studies show that vegetarians have about half the cancer risk of meat-eaters!
Obesity is a huge health problem that has reached epic proportions. Reducing your meat intake and including more fibre-rich foods like beans, fruits, and veggies means you may feel more satiated on fewer calories. A plant-based diet also adds plenty of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, helping you stay healthy, fit, and trim.
Looking to save some cash? Another benefit to eating plant-based protein sources like beans is that it will help you cut back on your grocery bills. Vegetarian meals tend to cost less—and that’s great news for your wallet and your health.
Reduces your environmental footprint
Animal agriculture spews huge amounts of greenhouse gasses into the air, wreaking havoc on Mother Earth. The production of plant foods, however, uses far less resources, helping to take the strain off our land and water supply. Lowing your meat consumption is a great way to reduce your environmental impact.
Reducing or eliminating your meat intake altogether might seem a little challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Now more than ever, there are tons of delicious vegetation recipes that are sure to please your palette and your pocket book. In no time at all, you’ll be feeling and looking better, not to mention that you’ll be helping the environment.
If you're on a journey to decreasing or eliminating meat from your diet, you’ll also want to make sure your supplements are vegetarian friendly. SierraSil is a joint pain remedy that is 100% vegetarian and vegan compatible with no sugar, starch, salt, wheat, gluten, corn, flavoring, or preservatives.
Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with 15 years of clinical practice and a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In addition to using acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements, biopuncture, and nutrition to treat pain, digestive issues, stress, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, and more, Dr.Carr is also a natural health and nutrition consultant, lecturer, and writer. www.activetcm.com.