The Benefits of a Vegetarian Lifestyle

A vegetarian diet can provide health benefits that improve your lifestyle and prolong your life. Whether you’re struggling with weight issues or health problems that are putting you at risk for illness and disease, changing to a vegetarian diet can make a positive difference.

Although eating meat does provide your body with lots of protein, it increases your risks for certain illnesses and diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancers. A vegetarian diet that’s rich in whole grains and leafy vegetables can actually lower your risks for developing certain diseases. A vegetarian diet has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney stones and gallstones, and many types of cancers including colon and pancreatic cancers. Vegetarians typically have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, both significant factors in the risk of heart disease.

If you have been thinking about making a change in your diet, consider some of the health benefits of a vegetarian diet:

More Energy

Eating meat, especially red meat, can make you feel tired and lethargic because it takes a long time to break down and digest. By changing to a vegetarian diet that’s high in vitamins and antioxidants, you may notice a significant boost in your energy levels. Since vegetables, fruits and grains break down faster and are easier to digest, they don’t make you feel like you need a nap after your meal.

Improved Mood

Your daily mood is greatly affected by your diet, your sleeping patterns, and your exercise regimen. Although you should focus on all three for optimal health results, your diet can play a big role in your mood each day. According to health studies in the <i>Nutrition Journal</i>, a vegetarian diet can boost your mood and help with depression. Certain chemicals found in animal proteins, such as arachidonic acids, have been linked to mood disorders in humans.

Better Taste Buds

Once you become a vegetarian, you may notice that your food tastes more flavorful than before. You may even enjoy certain flavors and spices that you avoided in your previous diet. Studies show that people who eat a lot of processed and salty foods burn out their taste buds and can’t taste more delicate flavors in foods. According to the Western Journal of Medicine, unhealthy diets with low-levels of zinc are linked to health conditions including impaired sense of smell, reduced mental functions, and anorexia. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, asparagus and kale, as well as whole grains have high-levels of zinc that improve your taste buds.

A vegetarian lifestyle may be just the change you need to improve your health. For more information, check out NCPHP and NC Physicians Health Program Website.

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