Eating Healthy as a Vegetarian and its Benefits

As more and more people are taking the leap to cut meat out of their diet, vegetarianism is on the rise. Whether they have decided to completely go vegan or make the effort to remove meat from their diets on certain days of the week, many of us are deciding to be more conscious of what we are eating and take on the plant-based diet. Not only does this mean you will be consuming a high amount of vegetables, but you will also be receiving a variety of health benefits. If you are thinking of becoming vegetarian, we have put together a simple guide and the benefits of choosing this lifestyle. 

The Guide to Being Vegetarian

Eat a Variety of Fruit and Vegetables 
It is suggested that you should eat at least five portions of 80 grams of fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced fruit and vegetables a day.

Base Your Meals on Starchy Carbs  
Starchy such as potatoes, bread, cereals, rice and pasta should make up just over one-third of your diet. Where possible, choose wholegrain varieties.

Consume Pulses, Beans and Other Sources of Protein
Beans, peas and lentils are a low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and count as a portion of vegetables. In addition, nuts, seeds and tofu are a good source of protein and other nutrients such as iron.

Limit Foods High in Salt and Sugar
Foods containing high amounts of salt and sugar should be eaten less often and in smaller amounts as they provide a limited amount of nutrients.

Sources of Iron
Dried fruit
Dark green vegetables
Wholemeal bread
Fortified cereals (with added iron)
Sources of Vitamin B12
Fortified breakfast cereals
Fortified soya products
Sources of Omega 3
Flaxseed (linseed) oil
Rapeseed oil
Soya oil
Egg enriched with omega-3

The Health Benefits 

Heart Health
A vegetarian diet which is low in fibre and high in potassium can lower your blood pressure. Through consuming products such as soy, almonds, high fibre foods such as oats and barley, scientists have found that you can significantly lower your cholesterol levels as well as you would if you were on medication. This also reduced your chances of obtaining heart disease.

A Healthy Gut
For thousands of years, it has been shown that your gut health is directly linked to the overall health of your body. By choosing a plant-based diety, you are supporting a diverse microbiome (the type of bacteria that is linked to good health) which supports your immune system and reduces inflammation. To improve your gut health and diversify its bacteria, include fermented varieties of vegetarian foods, such as water kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Improve Your Mental Health
Studies from the Nutritional Journal have shown that vegetarians may have better mental health than those who eat high quantities of meat, especially if you eat a lot of organic produce. Due to the elimination of fatty acids which are present in meat and the increase in complex carbohydrates your body will be sending serotonin to the brain, therefore making you feel more positive.

Weight Loss
On average vegetarians have a far lower BMI than those who eat meat. By following a plant-based diet, you are taking in more complex carbohydrates and so your body stays full for a longer period of time, therefore contributing to weight control.  

Glowing Skin
Whilst a vegetarian diet may improve your internal health, many are unaware of the impact it has on the health of your outer body. Being vegetarian gives the added benefits of increased vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which support healthy, skin, hair and nails. The key to glowing skin is to remove dairy products, fatty meats and sugar, to swap them with carotenoid-packed vegetables—those with a dark green, red, or orange hue.  

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

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