Thinking of cutting out meat altogether? Here is how it could boost your health.
The benefits of a plant-based diet are well known. But surprisingly, recent research by BMI Healthcare revealed that almost 40 percent of the UK population is unaware that eating red meat, or processed meat (burgers, sausages, etc), increases the risk of bowel cancer. Whether you’re already a non meat-eater, or are thinking of converting, we take a look at six other benefits of going veggie.
1 Live Longer
There have been a few studies supporting the theory that eating a plant-based diet can extend your life. The most recent research, which looked at the diets of 1.5 million people, found that going vegetarian for at least 17 years could add almost four years to your life. Eating red and particularly processed meats on a daily basis was linked to a higher risk of death from all causes.
2 Slim down
According to a review of 12 diet trials in Taiwan, people on a vegetarian diet (and especially those on a vegan plan) see better weight loss results than those on other diets. In fact, the study, which appeared in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found people lost on average two kilograms more in the short term.
3 Fight cancer
All of the known cancer prevention substances in food – such as beta carotene and vitamin B17 – are from plants, not animals. Meat on the other hand produces carcinogenic compounds when it’s cooked, particularly if at a high temperature. Many studies have found a significant reduction in cancer risk in those who avoid meat, and plant-based diets are generally richer in fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants and vitamins which have a protective effect.
4 Environmental impact
Rainforests in tropical places like Brazil are cut down at an alarming rate, partly to create space in which to raise more livestock for the meat market. Trees help counteract air pollution. Deforestation causes an increase of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, causes a drier climate and wipes out whole species of animals. Less meat eaten equals less deforestation.
5 Menstrual Cycle
Let’s be honest – none of us would complain if our periods were a little shorter, would we? Well, new research from women’s health app Clue (helloclue.com) found that vegetarians tend to have shorter periods than those who eat meat. A previous clinical trial also found that women who switched to a low-fat vegetarian diet reported milder and shorter symptoms of dysmenorrhea (pain and discomfort during a period).