In their latest paper on vegetarian diets, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highlights many health benefits associated with vegetarian and vegan diets. These foods combinations help in prevention and cure of certain ailments, and they people can consume them in all stages of their growth and development. They are fit for expectant and lactating mothers, infants, children, adolescents, adults, and athletes.
Vegan diets are more sustainable than animal products. They require less natural resources, hence their contribution to environmental damage is minimal.
Vegetarians tend to be healthier than their omnivorous counterparts. They tend to be slimmer, and they have a higher life expectancy. They have a reduced risk to type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, obesity and most cancers.
These diets contain high-fiber and phytochemical levels, and they produce low levels of bad cholesterol and enhance better serum glucose control. These aspects contribute to the prevention of chronic diseases.
Examples of vegetarian and vegan foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, soy products and seeds. However, you can only find some essential nutrients in animal products. Therefore, vegetarians and vegans should identify and use appropriate supplements.
The Vegetarian Resource Group estimates 3.3% of adults in the United States are vegetarians. There is a fallacy held by some people that a vegetarian diet is inadequate nutritionally, but there are countless variations that make them completely sufficient.
Writing for The New Paper, Susan Levin, a nutritionist at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington D.C. says that a vegetarian diet can lower the risk of all cancers by 18%, and a whopping 35% for prostate cancer.
The paper adds that a plant-based diet can reduce the possibility of heart disease by 10% to 29% and that of heart attack by 32%.
Vegetarians and vegans have relatively low BMIs, can control blood pressure and blood sugar much better and they have low cholesterol and inflammation levels than animal product consumers. To achieve these benefits, one should consult a registered dietitian nutritionist to get help in making informed choices.
Taking low total saturated fat, fewer salty snacks and sweets and higher consumption of vegetables and fruits is a perfect base for healthy lifetime habits in children and adolescents.