Health Benefits Of A Well Planned Vegetarian Diet

Five Lessons from the Vegetarian Diet

A well-planned vegetarian diet offers some wonderful benefits.

  • It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. If you choose, you can go vegan and avoid all animal products. Only 4% of vegetarians follow this approach. The majority of vegetarians follow either a lacto-ovo approach including milk products and eggs or a pescetarian approach that includes fish. Even more people follow a flexitarian eating style which is adjustable enough to allow some meat, fish and poultry along with a wide variety of plant foods like beans, lentils, soy foods, nuts and seeds. I’m in this category myself.
  • You’ll be getting lots of vegetables. The term veg-etarian suggests plenty of vegetables. Making vegetables half the plate ensures you’ll get a regular dose of disease-fighting nutrients.
  • You’ll enjoy a wide variety of tastes and textures. Vegetarians are very open to exploring a great mix of plant foods including soy in various formats, ancient grains such as quinoa, barley and many types of legumes.
  • You‘ll be aware of your nutritional needs. Healthy vegetarians take steps to ensure key nutrient requirements are met. Vitamin B12, iron and calcium may require supplementation depending on the type of vegetarian diet.
  • You’ll enjoy health benefits. Vegetarians can weigh less than non-vegetarians (although this is not always the case!). A healthy body weight decreases the risk of chronic disease and positively affects overall health. Risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer is reduced, mainly due to a lower intake of saturated fat. Longevity may even be enhanced. One study showed that semi-vegetarians live on average 3.6 years longer than non-vegetarians.

Do you follow a vegetarian diet of one form or another? I’d love to hear what your favourite meal ideas include.