The Benefits Of A Vegetarian Diet

1625 words - 7 pages

The Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
There is more to vegetarianism than not eating meat. A vegetarian generally pays attention to their health, makes choices about their diet, and respects animals. There are no rules to being vegetarian; a vegetarian sets his or her own guidelines and restrictions. One chooses not to eat meat for many reasons; it may be because of religion, respect for animals, health, or sometimes a person simply does not like meat. Most people think that a meat/animal-product free diet is just a trend, but vegetarianism has been a growing movement ever since it began in 600 BC. Pythagoras is considered the ‘original vegetarian’. Groups called Pythagorean Societies were set up that discouraged a diet consisting of meat (Parr pg. 26). Modern day vegetarianism began in seventeenth century England. In 1847, the word ‘vegetarian’ started being used. It was derived from the Latin word vegetus, meaning vigorous and lively (Parr pg. 31). Now there are about 7.3 million vegetarians in America and about 22.8 who followed a “vegetarian-inclined diet”. A basic vegetarian diet prohibits meat and you can choose if you want to eat other animal products like milk, cheese, eggs, honey, etc. There are many different sub-categories of vegetarianism: lacto-ovo, lacto, ovo, vegan, and semi-vegetarian. The difference between these categories is the exception of things like egg (ovo), milk (lacto), and other animal products. A vegetarian diet is beneficial to personal health, the environment, and the basic rights of animals.
Studies have shown that a vegetarian diet can be beneficial to your health. The mortality rate of vegetarians is 20 percent lower than regular meat eaters, meaning they tend to live longer and get sick less often. 1,500,000 deaths out of 2,100,000 were linked with a person’s diet (Shanti). A vegetarian tends to live longer because of they have low intakes of saturated fats, sugar, salt, and high intake of fiber. Having a diet high in fat, salt, and sugar can lead towards health problems like heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Vegetarians usually have a lower risk of getting those complications and many more. The high intake of vitamins even gives a vegetarian a 40 percent lower risk of getting cancer (Shanti). “A major study of diet, lifestyle, and health in China suggests that lowering the intake of meat to 15 percent of calories prevents most cancers, diabetes, and heart diseases,” (Parr pg. 65). Recently scientists have been finding links between some cancers and fat consumption. Male meat eaters had 3.6 times more of a chance of getting prostate cancer than vegetarian males and woman vegetarians were two times less likely to get ovarian cancer (Parr pg.67). Lung cancer is also less common in vegetarians than non-vegetarians. A lower risk of disease is not the only health benefit though. The human digestive systems were not made to handle high consumption of fat. The body can’t digest food...

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