7 advantages of eliminating meat from your diet

People decide to choose plant-based diets for many different reasons. Whether it’s to boycott the cruelty of animals, aiding the well-being of the planet by consuming less water or reducing the risk of cancers and diseases, millions of people are cutting meat from their diets.

Studies have shown that the growing movement to vegetarianism and veganism is more than a trend, but rather a movement of mindset.

Michelle McMacken, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician and an assistant professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine. She gave the following seven reasons why millions are making the transition from animal-based diets to plant-based.

1. You will reduce inflammation in your body

If you are eating meat, cheese and highly processed foods, chances are you have elevated levels of inflammation in your body. While short-term inflammation (after an injury) is normal and necessary, inflammation that lasts for months or years is not. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases, among other conditions.

In contrast, plant-based diets are naturally anti-inflammatory, because they are high in fiber, antioxidants and other phytonutrients and much lower in inflammatory triggers like saturated fat and endotoxins (toxins released from bacteria commonly found in animal foods).

Read also: Cater for your guests with these easy vegetarian braai ideas

2. Your blood cholesterol levels will plummet

Elevated blood cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease and strokes. Saturated fat — primarily found in meat, poultry, cheese, and other animal products — is a major driver of our blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol in our food also plays a role.

Studies consistently show that when people go plant based, their blood cholesterol levels drop by up to 35 per cent . In many cases, the decrease is equal to that seen with drug therapy—with many positive side effects!

3. You will give your microbiome a makeover

The trillions of microorganisms living in our bodies are collectively called the microbiome. Increasingly, these microorganisms are recognised as crucial to our overall health: not only do they help us digest our food, but they produce critical nutrients, train our immune systems, turn genes on and off, keep our gut tissue healthy, and help protect us from cancer. Studies have also shown they play a role in obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease.

Read also: 10 easy low carb veggie snacks

Plant foods help shape a healthy intestinal microbiome. The fiber in plant foods promotes the growth of ‘friendly’ bacteria in our guts. On the other hand, fiber-poor diets (such as those that are high in dairy, eggs, and meat) can foster the growth of disease-promoting bacteria.

4. You will change how your genes work

Scientists have made the remarkable discovery that environmental and lifestyle factors can turn genes on and off. For example, the antioxidants and other nutrients we eat in whole plant foods can change gene expression to optimise how our cells repair damaged DNA.

Research has also shown that lifestyle changes, including a plant-based diet, can decrease the expression of cancer genes in men with low-risk prostate cancer.

Watch this: Indulge in 9 simple vegan dinners 

5. You will dramatically reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes

Animal protein, especially red and processed meat, has been shown in study after study to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Why though? Several reasons: animal fat, animal-based (heme) iron, and nitrate preservatives in meat have been found to damage pancreatic cells, worsen inflammation, cause weight gain, and impair the way our insulin functions.

Mmmm: Spoil yourself with a dairy-free chocolate cake

You will dramatically lessen your chances of getting type 2 diabetes by leaving animal products off of your plate and eating a diet based in whole plant foods. This is especially true if you eat whole grains, which are highly protective against type 2 diabetes. You read that right: carbs actually protect you from diabetes! Also, a plant-based diet can improve or even reverse your diabetes if you’ve already been diagnosed.

6. You will get the right amount—and the right type—of protein.

The average omnivore in the US gets more than 1.5 times the optimal amount of protein, most of it from animal sources.

Contrary to popular perception, this excess protein does not make us stronger or leaner. Excess protein is stored as fat or turned into waste, and animal protein is a major cause of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and cancer.

On the other hand, the protein found in whole plant foods protects us from many chronic diseases. There is no need to track protein intake or use protein supplements with plant-based diets; if you are meeting your daily calorie needs, you will get plenty of protein.

More deliciousness: Prepare seven dairy-free desserts

7. You will make a huge impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants

Animal agriculture is extremely destructive to the planet. It is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and is a leading cause of land and water use, deforestation, wildlife destruction, and species extinction.

Our oceans are rapidly becoming depleted of fish; by some estimates, oceans may be fishless by 2048. The current food system, based on meat and dairy production, also contributes to world hunger—the majority of crops grown worldwide go toward feeding livestock, not feeding people.

Most importantly: What you need to know before becoming a vegan 

Equally important, animals raised for food are sentient beings who suffer, whether raised in industrial factory farms or in farms labeled ‘humane’. Eating a plant-based diet helps us lead a more compassionate life. After all, being healthy is not just about the food we eat; it’s also about our consciousness—our awareness of how our choices affect the planet and all of those with whom we share it.

Check out these delicious veggie burger variations that can easily be made at home:

8 Amazing Veggie Burgers

8 Amazing Veggie BurgersFULL RECIPES: http://bzfd.it/2jNMuTB

Posted by Tasty Vegetarian on Saturday, 25 November 2017

 

DID YOU KNOW?
Click on the words highlighted in red to read more on this and related topics. 
To receive news links via WhatsApp, send an invite to 061 694 6047
The South Coast Sun is also on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest – why not join us there?

Do you have more information pertaining to this story?
Feel free to let us know by commenting on our Facebook page or you can contact our newsroom on 031 903 2341 and speak to a journalist.

(Comments posted on this issue may be used for publication in the Sun)

  AUTHOR
Holly Konig
Journalist

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top
Recommended Story x
8 benefits of eating honey every day

Thanks for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

South Coast Sun
Southlands Sun


Get regular news updates sent directly to your inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites

SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter

SELECT your titles:

South Coast Sun
Southlands Sun

Get regular news updates sent directly to you inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

Subscribe Here
1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
Your details:


Your friends: