Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diet Consumption

by Webmaster,

There are many health benefits of vegetarian diet consumption. According to Dr Richard Schulze, a vegetarian diet detoxifies and builds the body, and also heals disease. He adds that vegetarians are generally healthier, have less illness, need less doctor visits as well as less medication, and also live longer. There are numerous studies and statistics on vegetarian diets which validate and support these claims.

Common sense alone tells us that when you eat and live smart, you can look and feel younger, feel lighter and less sluggish, have more energy and vitality, have a much stronger immune system, maintain a healthy weight, have better skin, suffer less pain, discomfort and illnesses, and even feel happier.

So, what are the benefits of a vegetarian diet?

The fact is, there is increasing evidence that the healthiest diets are filled with many plant-based foods and very low, or even void, on animal-based ones.

Even mainstream organizations like the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada state that a well-planned vegetarian diet can satisfy the nutritional needs for all stages of life, including infancy, childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, lactation and old age.

These organizations championed the health benefits of vegetarian diet consumption when they stated that "vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals".

For more information on vegetarian nutrition, click here.

The truth is, a vegetarian diet even has enough of the nutrients which they have been mistakenly claimed to be lacking in, such as calcium, essential fatty acids, vitamin B12 and protein.

In fact, vegetarian diets provide many health benefits and large-scale studies have shown them to be very useful in preventing and even treating many diseases - risks for deadly diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke are lower for vegetarians.

Eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables, is something which even mainstream organizations like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association recommends.

The conclusion almost always points in the same direction, that we should eat less animal-based food products, if not cut them out altogether, and consume more plant-based foods, in particular fruits and vegetables.

So, how do the health benefits of vegetarian diet consumption come about? Each health benefit of vegetarian diet choices is elaborated below.

Vegetarian plant foods are very nourishing; animal foods lack certain nutrients

Plant foods provide many nutrients and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) which boost the health benefits of vegetarian diet choices. They provide better nutrition to the body, in a form which is easier to digest and assimilate. This means the body requires less effort to digest the foods.

A healthy vegetarian diet is beneficial in the following ways.


Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are high in fiber - this helps the whole digestive system to work better, and helps better bowel movements. This then prevents constipation and other intestinal disturbances such as bloating, candida overgrowth, diarrhea, flatulence, as well as many colon diseases which develop in the long-term, such as cancer and diverticulosis. High intake of dietary fiber has also been linked to reduction in risks for several other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Soluble fiber also helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.

There is no fiber in animal food products.

Various nutrients

The health benefits of vegetarian diet foods are provided and boosted by the following important nutrients, which are present in high amounts in many plant foods.

  • Carbohydrates - which is found in higher amounts in plant foods
  • Carotenoids
  • Folic acid - which reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

    Antioxidants and phytochemicals found only in plant foods

    Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids are present in large amounts in plant foods, especially raw ones, and help to protect body cells from free radical damage.

    Another benefit of a vegetarian diet is that we are able to attain the health-promoting properties of many substances found only in plant foods.

    Phytochemicals - examples include flavonoids, isothiocyanates and phytoestrogens - present in plants have been shown in studies to boost health and offer protective effects against degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

    The positive effects of phytochemicals are often underestimated and they play a great part in the health benefits of vegetarian diet foods.

    There are literally thousands of studies, both clinical and epidemiological in nature, which prove the effectiveness of many individual substances and phytochemicals found in plants against various diseases and health conditions.

    Interestingly, I have not really heard of many (or any) such studies for animal-based foods. You see, there is really nothing unique or special about almost all the nutrients which we get when we consume animals - most of them come second-hand from plants, anyway. The most powerful nutrients and antioxidants known are almost always found in plants.

    Animal foods naturally contain bad stuffs

    Some of the health benefits of vegetarian diet choices come about by virtue of absence - plant-based foods, when compared to animal food products, pollute the body a lot less, as a healthy vegetarian diet is typically also low in certain harmful substances.

  • Fats, especially saturated fats - they clog up arteries and store toxins.
  • Cholesterol - excessive cholesterol makes the blood viscous and causes clotting. In the long run, this results in diseases like high blood pressure and cancer; plant food has very little or virtually no cholesterol at all.

    Do note that even meat which is supposedly lean contains a lot of fat and cholesterol.

    These substances clog up the arteries, causing the major organs in the body to degenerate and develop disease, as well as serious conditions like heart attack and stroke, which are major killers in the first world today. They are also linked to cancer.

    Animal foods contain even more bad stuffs - microorganisms and toxic poisons

    The health benefits of vegetarian diet choices become even more marked when we consider the additional harmful substances which are found in today's animal food products. Once again, the health benefits of vegetarian diet foods come about by the relative absence of these harmful substances.

    In recent years, many health risks have emerged from the consumption of animal foods. Modern farming techniques, whereby animals are raised in overcrowded and filthy conditions, have directly caused the spread of many dangerous diseases to humans.

    Farm animals are fed junk food and also injected with considerable amounts of chemicals such as drugs, antibiotics, steroids and artificial growth hormones, in a bid to make them grow faster and to battle the illnesses caused by their unsanitary living conditions.

    Worse still, the pollution of our waters and lands has caused the accumulation of poisons and toxins, such as mercury and chemical fertilizers, in the tissue of animals.

    By being a vegetarian, you can avoid the following:

  • Avian influenza in poultry
  • Bacteria in fish
  • Bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry
  • BSE, commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, in beef
  • Chemicals such as antibiotics, drugs, artificial growth hormones, steroids, etc, which are used on commercially raised livestock, like cows
  • E.Coli in ground beef
  • Heavy metal toxins, such as lead and mercury, in various animal flesh
  • Hepatitis virus and other bacteria and viruses in shellfish and seafood
  • Mercury in fish
  • Microorganisms, i.e. bacteria, parasites and viruses, found in various animal flesh
  • Parasites in beef and fish
  • PCBs in fish - a study by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine showed that women who suffered from breast cancer had more than twice the concentrations of PCBs in their bodies, as compared to other women. It warned against the consumption of animal food products such as dairy products, fish and animal fats.

    Many deadly diseases in humans are caused by meat, including poultry and seafood. Although fruits and vegetables, in particular when eaten raw, can also carry bacteria, animal flesh is still by far the main culprit.

    When we eat animal flesh, all the abovementioned rubbish is going into our bodies.

    Personally, I find it very scary. Is it any wonder that meat-eaters develop much more diseases - both contagious and degenerative in nature - when compared to vegetarians?

    Vegetarians suffer less from many serious and dangerous diseases

    If you are still not convinced about the health benefits of vegetarian diet choices, then see what research has shown.

    Numerous studies champion the health benefits of vegetarian diet choices by revealing that vegetarians have lower risk for developing the following diseases:

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer - in particular breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian and prostate cancers. Also esophageal and liver cancers.
  • Clogged arteries
  • Colon diseases
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Fibroid uterine tumors
  • Heart diseases, including heart attacks
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Prostate disease
  • Stroke

    Meat-eating contributes greatly to healthcare costs

    Still not convinced about the health benefits of vegetarian diet choices?

    Dr William Harris, MD, director of the Kaiser Permanente Vegetarian Lifestyle Clinic in Hawaii, stated in an oral testimony in Feb 1998 opposing a bill in Hawaii which proposed to float $10million in bonds to support the meat industry: "The cholesterol and saturated fat in meat is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and six types of cancer. Animal protein is a risk factor for auto-immune disease, kidney disease, and osteoporosis. By estimate in my book 'The Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism', about 1/6 of the almost trillion-dollar yearly U.S. medical bill can be traced to the consumption of animal source food."

    He also mentioned that the peer-reviewed article, "The medical costs attributable to meat consumption," Prev Med 1995;24(6):646-55, placed medical costs due to meat consumption for 1992 between $28.6 and $61.4 billion.

    It sure looks like eating meat comes with rather expensive consequences, literally.

    Benefits of vegetarian diet - better health outcomes

    Need even more proof? The benefits of vegetarian diet choices don't just relate to less disease - they also provide better health outcomes. For example, studies have shown that vegetarians have:

    Higher calcium levelsLower blood pressureLower blood sugar levelsLower body mass index; body weight under controlLower cholesterol levels

    The health benefits of vegetarian diet choices are further expanded when we take into account that the following conditions have also been said to respond well to vegetarian diets:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma

    Discussion on vegetarianism and healthy weight

    When you eat junk foods, such as fast food, sugary and floury snacks, refined foods, and drink soft drinks, you have a higher tendency to become fat. You see, such junk foods have very little nutritional content; they are mostly just empty calories. Thus, no matter how much you eat, your body still feels unsatisfied, as its nutritional requirements (vitamins, minerals, etc) have not been fulfilled. The result is thus overeating and obesity.

    This is one main reason why those who embrace a healthy vegetarian diet are able to maintain a healthy weight, or even shed their excess weight. Being in good shape is one of the most noticeable health benefits of vegetarian diet consumption.

    Conclusion on the health benefits of vegetarian diet choices

    The health benefits of vegetarian diet consumption are numerous and very clear. Believe it or not, I have even come across mention of research that shows that not consuming red meat improves the sex appeal of a male's body odor!

    Practically all the nutrients needed by animals and human beings are produced by plants and micro-organisms, and not by animals. By eating animal food products, we are actually getting those nutrients from a second-hand source. Now, why don't we get the same nutrients from their natural and original sources? And, without all the fat, cholesterol, harmful organisms and toxic chemicals too!

    Just think of it this way - someone who only eats plant-based foods would do very well; in fact, he could even thrive, if he eats a well-balanced diet containing a variety of foods. On the other hand, someone who only eats animal-based foods would, in my mind, do quite badly. Not only would he be lacking many essential vitamins and other nutrients, he would be severely constipated due to the lack of fiber. In fact, I'm not sure how long he can actually survive without contracting a serious disease.

    Why not start reaping the numerous health benefits of vegetarian diet choices today?

    Even if you don't wish to, or are not ready, to give up animal food products and go fully vegetarian, then at least consider cutting down your consumption of these harmful foods.

    There are some types of vegetarian diets which may be helpful in assisting your transition to vegetarianism, or in offering you alternatives to full vegetarianism.

    To read about the reasons why people become vegetarians, click here.

    To read about the various advantages of embracing a vegetarian diet, click here.

    You may want to read the page discussing the concerns with regard to a vegetarian diet being low on certain nutrients, such as calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and essential fatty acids.

    There is also a page discussing whether there is sufficient protein in a vegetarian diet.

    Click here for a discussion on a typical vegetarian food pyramid.

    There are many benefits of vegetarian diet consumption. Which benefits of vegetarian diet consumption do you best identify with?

    Read More: More on Vegetarianism | Understanding Nutrition and its Importance | Nutrition Health Articles - Foods, Diets, Supplements, Nutrients and more | Information on some Herbs | Favorite Herbs, Herbals Formulas and Foods | Natural Health Supplements - What to Consider | Home Page | Site Search

    Being a vegetarian does not have to be difficult. In fact, it should be simple, healthful and fun. Meals can be delicious, too. Click here for a step-by-step guide to a vegetarian lifestyle, which will help you to make a simple transition to a healthier diet.

    Also, if you wish to learn how to lose weight quickly and healthily with simple, cheap and easy vegetarian meal plans, click here.

    And if you love Chinese food or wish to learn healthy, delicious, natural, gluten-free Chinese vegetarian recipes which you can easily prepare at home, click here.

    Vegetarian-related Pages

    Introduction | What is a Vegetarian? | What Do Vegetarians Eat? | Different Types of Vegetarians | Pros & Cons | Why People Become Vegetarians - the reasons | Advantages of Vegetarian Diet Choices | Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diet Consumption | Vegetarian Diet Disadvantage - a discussion | Becoming a Vegetarian - does it suit humans better? | Being Vegetarian | Going Vegetarian Really isn't That Difficult | Challenges of Being a Vegetarian | How to Become a Vegetarian | Tips to Become Vegetarian | Nutrition Issues | Thoughts on Vegetarian Nutrition - is it adequate and complete? | Vegetarian Diet Health Concerns - are there nutritional deficiencies? | Vegetarian Protein - is there enough, and is it complete? | High Protein Vegetarian Diet - some thoughts | Planning a Diet | What's a Healthy Vegetarian Diet? | Achieving a Balanced Vegetarian Diet | Formulating a Vegetarian Diet Plan | Vegetarian Food Pyramid - details & discussion | Vegetarian Daily Diet - some ideas | A Right Diet for Vegetarians - are you on one? | More Information | Vegetarian Statistics and Studies | Vegetarian Quotes - for fun, information & inspiration | Vegetarian Websites, Books, Videos & Resources | List of some Famous Vegetarians

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