Advantages of Being Vegetarian

Topic started by Star (@ on Mon Dec 29 03:32:04 EST 2003.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

Health Benefits of Being a Vegetarian

According to studies, vegetarians have better health than people that eat meat. They have lower rates of coronary artery disease, gallstones, cancer (particularly lung and colon cancer), kidney stones, colon disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. It has been shown that sometimes a vegetarian diet can help cure these diseases. A vegetarian is also less likely to be overweight than a non-vegetarian.
In 1961, the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that ninety to ninety-seven percent of heart disease, the cause of more than half the deaths in the United States, could be prevented by a vegetarian diet.

The American Heart Association report states, "In well-documented population studies using standard methods of diet and coronary disease assessment…evidence suggests that a high-saturated-fat diet is an essential factor for a high incidence of coronary heart disease."

In 1990, the British Medical Journal Lancet reported on a study by Dr Dean Ornish of the University of California. Dr Ornish found that a vegetarian diet reversed clogging of the arteries in patients with serious heart disease.

In 1990, Dr Walter Willet, who conducted a study of diet and colon cancer, said, "If you step back and look at the data, the optimum amount of red meat you eat should be zero."

The National Academy of Science reported in 1983 that "people may be able to prevent many common cancers by eating less fatty meats and more vegetables and grain."

The USDA recommends that people reduce saturated fat and cholesterol, which are in high amounts in animal products, and low in vegetarian diets.

In his Notes on the Causation of Cancer, Rollo Russell writes, "I have found of twenty-five nations eating flesh largely, nineteen had a high cancer rate and only one had a low rate, and that of thirty-five nations eating little or no flesh, none had a high rate."
Various studies have shown that vegetarians have lower blood pressure than non-vegetarians.

Vegetarians have much lower cholesterol levels than people that eat meat. Heart disease is found much less in vegetarians. Studies have also shown that vegetarians have up to half the cancer rate than those of non-vegetarians. Cases of breast cancer are much lower in countries that have low meat diets.

Vegetarians eat more antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotenes and phytochemicals. Phyotochemicals are components in plants that help to prevent disease. Antioxidants decrease the chance of getting heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Eating red meat increases the chance of dying from cancer of the breast and colon, heart disease and strokes. Meat eaters have much higher rates of cancer than vegetarians. Cancer and cardiovascular diseases are linked to diets with a high amount of saturated fat (meat) and with a low amount of fiber (meat).

Animal products are high in sodium, which causes the blood to retain water and also causes plaque to build up in the arteries, lowering the flow of blood, which are major causes of high blood pressure.
According to a study done in England for 12 years of 5,015 meat eaters and 6,115 vegetarians, it was found that vegetarians had 40% less chance of getting cancer.

According to William Castelli, MD, director of the Framingham Heart Study, vegetarians live three to six years longer than meat eaters. He said, "vegetarians have the best diet. They have the lowest rate of coronary disease of any group in the country and they have a fraction of our heart attack rate and they have only 40% of our cancer rate."

Grains and plant foods contain fiber, while animal products contain almost none. Because fiber is necessary for proper stool production, lack of proper fiber accounts for societies with meat-based diets to have higher cases of colon cancer. The main reasons why people need to take laxatives is because of lack of fiber in their diet and not drinking enough water.

There were guidelines published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association (AHA). These guidelines were compiled by members of the AHA's Nutrition Committee with the cooperation of the American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Richard J Deckelbaum, MD, a co-author of the journal article, is a professor of nutrition at Columbia University and a member of the AHA Nutrition Committee. Edward A Fisher, MD, PhD, a co-author of the article, is director of lipoprotein research at New York's Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Institute.

Their recommendations are that a healthy diet consists of getting 30% of total calories from fat and no more than 10% of total calories from saturated fat, and 55% of total calories should come from complex carbohydrates such as grains, cereals, vegetables and fruits. It is also recommended that a person eat only enough calories to maintain their body weight. Problems come from eating too much fat, especially saturated fats from meat and eggs, eating too many calories, and getting too much calories from salt and sugar.

Because people in the US eat good amounts of meat, Americans eat five times as much protein as is recommended. An excess of protein can leach calcium from the bones, which is major cause of bone disorder.

It is important to get enough leafy vegetables that are high in antioxidants, which are good for overall health.

Some Important Guidelines
1. Eat a variety of foods.
2. Mainly eat foods from plant sources.
3. Don't eat too much salt or sugar.
4. Eat at least six servings of grains, breads and pastas.
5. Eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits.
6. Avoid foods high in fat, especially those coming from animal sources.

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