Vegetarian diet is loaded with all essential nutrients— dietary fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and therefore, helps to ward off the risk of diseases and maintain ideal body weight.
Vegetarian diet is one of the best ways to reduce your risk for heart disease—a leading cause of death in today’s world. People who eat vegetarian diet may do it for personal, religious, humanitarian or environmental reasons.
[Read: Go Veg to be Happy]
Types of Vegetarian Diets
Some of the different types of vegetarian diets that are practiced include;
- Semi-Vegetarian diet: These people usually eat everything except red meat, and poultry. However they eat fish and dairy products.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: These people usually eat all dairy products (including butter, cheese) and eggs but they do not eat meat, poultry or fish.
- Lacto-vegetarian: These people eat dairy products but they do not eat eggs, meat, poultry or fish.
- Vegan: Vegans eat foods obtained only from plants like cereals, grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. They do not eat any food of animal origin (milk and other dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry or fish) and even foods that contain any ingredients derived from an animal.
Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
- There are several benefits of a vegetarian diet. Foods from plants (grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds) are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are known to help fend off disease and reduce risk of diseases.
- Risk of heart disease is decreased
- Risk of hypertension or high blood pressure is decreased
- Risk of certain cancers (like colon and breast) is decreased
- Risk of diverticular disease and digestive disorders is decreased
- Other health benefits of vegetarian or plant-based diet are;
- Blood levels of total and LDL cholesterol is reduced
- Reduces risk of obesity.
- Increases lifespan or longevity.
Other Factors that Reduce your Risk of Heart Disease
Your risk of heart disease, hypertension and obesity are not reduced just because you eat vegetarian diet. In addition to eating plant-based foods you have to consider your total calorie and fat intake. To reduce your risk of heart-disease you will have to limit your portion size and total calorie intake, and total fat intake (especially saturated and trans fats). Other healthy measures like regular exercise, relaxation technique to reduce stress, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy body weight also reduce your risk of heart disease.
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