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10 good reasons to go veggie

YHL explores some of the health benefits associated with following a vegetarian diet

This month marks World Vegetarian Day on 1 October. There are various health benefits associated with adopting a vegetarian diet. If you are considering switching to a veggie diet read on to find out how it could benefit you.

1 Lower risk of chronic diseases

Vegetarian diets are associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Plant-based diets tend to be lower in saturated fats and cholesterol, which are often linked to these health issues.

2 Improved heart health

A vegetarian diet can contribute to better heart health due to the reduction of saturated fats and cholesterol found in animal products. Plant-based diets tend to be rich in antioxidants, healthy fats and fibre, all of which may help to reduce LDL or "bad" cholesterol as well as improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

3 Weight management

Many people find that vegetarian diets help with weight management and weight loss. Plant-based diets are often lower in calories and saturated fats compared to diets that include animal products.

4 Digestive health

Vegetarian diets are usually high in dietary fibre due to the increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Fibre is essential for good digestive health and can help to prevent constipation.

5 Lower blood pressure

Vegetarian diets are often associated with lower blood pressure levels, which can help to reduce the risk of hypertension and its associated complications.

6 Type 2 diabetes management

Plant-based diets can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, making them beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

7 Reduced cancer risk

Some studies suggest that vegetarian diets, particularly those rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon, breast and prostate cancer.

8 Kidney health

For individuals with kidney problems, a vegetarian diet can be beneficial as it may reduce the risk of kidney stones and slow the progression of kidney disease.

9 Longevity

Some research indicates that people who follow vegetarian diets may have a longer life expectancy compared to those who consume diets high in animal products.

10 Environmental impact

While not a direct health benefit, choosing a vegetarian diet can also have positive effects on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and deforestation associated with livestock production.

If you are considering making the switch to a vegetarian diet then make sure that you are eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods. This is vital to ensure that you're getting all the essential nutrients your body needs, such as protein, iron, vitamin B12, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and more. It's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered nutritionist to ensure that all your nutritional needs are being met.

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