People are choosing to go plant-based for various reasons, but the big three are animals, the environment, and health. The adjustment period of changing their food traditions for a new way of eating and negativity from others can make the transition hard for some people. But, if you’re trying to make big changes for your life, a vegetarian or vegan diet may be worth trying, at least for a while.
There are two kinds of vegetarian diet: lacto-ovo and strict (vegan). Most vegetarians fall into the lacto-ovo category: They eat only non-animal products (fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, soy, etc.), but do eat animal byproducts, such as yogurt and eggs. Vegans, however, don’t eat any animal products so it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need (especially if you’re choosing processed food like Oreos, over real, naturally occurring foods).
It is more complicated than just cutting out meat or dairy. Following a vegetarian diet full of fruits and vegetables can actually be one of the best ways to feed your body the nutrients it needs. Plant foods are loaded with nutrients to protect our health.
According to WebMD and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic disease. Wow.
If you’re trying to support your heart health, cutting out processed deli meats is a great first step to take. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet can also help support your heart health. Some people choose to avoid meat just one day a week, then work their way up as they learn new, more heart-healthy recipes. Talk to your physician about your heart health and what you can do to improve your health this year. If you want to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at (928) 537-4375.