Vegetarian Diets and Quality of Life
Even though vegetarian diets increase in popularity because of their health benefits, many vegetarians don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods to provide their nutritional needs. Some of them rely too heavily on processed foods which can be high in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium.
Many studies find that vegetarians live 6-9 years longer than the meat-lovers, but vegetarians are also more likely to exercise, smoke less and drink less alcohol. Taken into consideration all these factors (and many others) that also contribute to a longer life, it’s hard to claim the direct correlation between being vegetarian and living longer.
However, if you are an altruist concerned with animal rights, reducing meat intake will not only benefit your physical health but also the way your mind feels about the hidden confines of factory farms where animals live in conditions of suffering.
Why Vegetarians Live Longer
We don’t claim that it’s wrong to eat meat if you’re doing so in moderation, but researches show there are few reasons why vegetarians outlive omnivores.
First of all, they tend to have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and less chance of heart disease. People who eat vegetarian diets have improved blood sugar control, therefore lower risk for developing diabetes, and finally, 12% lower risk of death compared to non-vegetarians.
Types of Vegetarians
- Pescatarians don't consume meat, offal, and poultry. They do restrict their meat consumption to fish and seafood only. They include eggs and dairy products in their diet.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t consume meat, offal, fish, and poultry, but obtain protein from dairy products, eggs, beans, legumes, and nuts.
- Lacto-vegetarians don’t eat meat, offal, fish, and poultry, but eggs are excluded from their diet too. They obtain protein from dairy products, beans, legumes, and nuts.
- Vegans exclude meat, offal, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. They obtain protein from beans, legumes, pulses, nuts and soy products like tofu.
Children Need Good Nutrition
Some of the health risks that vegetarians may face include iron deficiencies, and not getting the right amount of nutrients (this is especially in the case of children’s growing bodies.)
The type of vegetarian diet most commonly associated with significant nutritional problems in little kids is the vegan diet, so making sure your children get enough of all the nutrients is crucial for good health. Those crucial nutrients include iron, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, suitable fats from non-meat sources and folate.
Breast milk will remain an important food for babies up until 12 months. A severe lack of vitamin B12 in breast milk can cause brain damage to your baby, so vegetarian mothers who breastfeed should make sure they get their vitamin B12 found mainly in animal products, milk, and eggs, or talk to their doctor or dietitian about getting vitamin and mineral supplements.
How Vegetarianism Can Help Save the Planet
We humans eat 230m tonnes of animals a year produced in farms that can generate as much waste as a city.
Behind most of the joints of beef or chicken on our plates is a phenomenally wasteful system that devastates forests, pollutes the oceans and air, depends on oil and coal, and is significantly responsible for climate change.
A human population expected to grow by 3 billion within 50 years, and 1 billion people already not having enough to eat urge the need to rethink our relationship with animals.
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