Vegetarian food for a longer life

Vegetarian food for a longer life

Followers of a non-vegetarian diet may argue that a vegetarian diet is not balanced, does not provide enough protein and is deficient in nutrients. However, these have been refuted by scientists and nutritionists as sheer myths because plant foods are not only at par vis-à-vis all the nutrients provided by meat, but are also rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Let’s look at some health benefits of a vegetarian diet:

Healthy hearts: A vegetarian diet is generally rich in dietary fibre, containing less saturated fats. The fibre binds cholesterol molecules and prevents its absorption in the blood.

Strong immunity: Fresh fruits and vegetables provide a rich supply of antioxidants and phytonutrients with an adequate balance of vitamins and minerals. This builds strong immunity, which can keep many common illnesses at bay.

Higher life expectancy: Several research studies have proved beyond doubt that vegetarians have higher life expectancy than non-vegetarians. The reason is the demand on the body to put more effort to process animal fats, resulting in depletion of both nutrients and energy. This extra effort by the body shortens the life span.

Lower body mass index: Vegetarian diets are low in fats, in general, and unsaturated fats, in particular. This keeps the body much thinner than that of non-vegetarians, even at older ages. Consequently, they also prevent a host of obesity-related diseases such as
diabetes and high blood pressure.

Safe from animal-borne diseases: According to the World Health Organization, 159 types of diseases are contracted by the consumption of non-vegetarian food. The recent cases of swine flu and bird flu are classic examples of meat products leaving a deleterious impact on human health.Vegetarian foods are, therefore, the much safer and smarter option.

(The author is head, dept of extension communication and management, UAS, Dharwad)

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