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The pros and cons of vegetarianism
There are pros and cons to becoming a vegetarian. Whereas most of us will be able to rustle up some vegetarian recipes the majority of people in the western world are raised believing that consuming meat, eggs and diary is the norm. Currently, around 3-5% of people in the UK are vegetarian and there are more recipes for vegetarians than ever before. If you think that vegetarianism could work for you, whether it’s for health, religious or ethical reasons, here’s some advice to help you make an informed choice.
- Tend to have a healthier diet containing a lower amount of saturated fat and cholesterol and a higher amount of fibre
- Are significantly better protected against certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer
- Have a stronger immune system and are less likely to be overweight, or to suffer from heart disease or diabetes
- Are safe from the potential damage caused by hormones and drugs found in some meat products
- Usually live up to 6-10 years longer
- Are unlikely to get food poisoning from plant foods (and vegans won’t suffer from allergies to common culprits such as seafood, eggs and milk)
- Are more informed about animal cruelty and potentially help the environment by not eating meat.
- Can lack essential nutrients in their diet, which can result in tiredness, malaise and illness
- Often lack protein in their diet. Fill up on-meat protein sources such as tofu, eggs, quinoa, chickpeas, avocadoes, peanut butter and miso soup
- Can suffer from anaemia as a result of a lack of iron in their diet (iron from plant sources is not as readily absorbed as it is from meat). To combat this eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, as well as lentils and beans, or take an iron supplement
- Have to be well-versed in nutrition and committed to being vegetarian to maintain this lifestyle choice. Children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly and athletes are especially vulnerable to an unbalanced vegetarian diet
- Need to be aware of hidden meat and fish products in food, such as the presence of anchovies in Worcestershire sauce and gelatine in desserts
- May be restricted when eating out.