Other Health Benefits for Vegetarians
If you are set on trying to lose weight with a vegetarian diet, it may be encouraging to know that there are a number of other health benefits as well with this particular diet. Numerous research studies have shown a variety of health benefits of a vegetarian diet, such as:
- Preventing cancer: Because vegetarian diets are low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and full of cancer-protective phytochemicals, they may help to prevent cancer. Some studies have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters. Also, it has been observed that the blood analysis of vegetarians shows a higher level of "natural killer cells," which are white blood cells that can attack cancer cells.
- Preventing heart disease: Because animal products are a rich source of saturated fat and cholesterol, vegetarians may have a lower risk for heart disease. Also, the vegetarian diet tends to be higher in fiber and lower in fat, which can cause cholesterol levels to drop significantly.
- Reducing blood pressure: Some research has shown that a vegetarian diet may significantly reduce a person's blood pressure within two weeks. Although it is not exactly clear how this works, it is believed that by cutting out meat and added fats, a vegetarian's blood is less viscous (thick), which helps to lower blood pressure.
- Controlling diabetes: In many cases, type 2 diabetes can be managed through a low-fat, vegetarian diet and proper exercise regimen. Because a vegetarian diet tends to be lower in fat and higher in fiber and complex carbohydrates, it can help insulin work more efficiently and improve management of blood sugar levels. And the heart-healthy benefits of a vegetarian diet can be especially beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes, who have a high risk for heart disease.
- Preventing gallstones, kidney stones, and osteoporosis: Some research has shown that vegetarians may have a reduced risk for forming kidney stones and gallstones. Also, because animal products can remove calcium from the body, eating meat can contribute to bone loss. Cutting meat products from your diet may help reduce your risk for osteoporosis.