Nutritional Benefits of Vegetarian and Plant-Based Diet
There is no doubt that nutritionists all around the world have been doing a research whether vegetarian and plant-based diets are healthy or not which can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other cancers that can increase longevity. Vegetarian diets contains low fat, especially saturated fat and higher dietary fiber. On the contrary, it includes more whole grains, legumes, nuts and soy protein that can replace red meat and help in preventing obesity and chronic health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases. Despite the well-planned vegetarian diet, it should pay attention to some other nutrients that are lack to ensure an adequate intake. This article will review the evidence for the vegetarian diet and also make a discussion of the strategies in nutritional needs of vegetarian-style and plant-based eating pattern.
Whether or not taking a vegetarian diet is good for people health is a controversial question, supporters may say that being a vegetarian can help them avoiding some diseases. However, the other people rejected this notion, believing that eating no meats can lead to more diseases because of the shortage of nutrition. In this essay, both of these sides will be compared.
First of all, a person can be referred to as a vegetarian or vegan when he or she eats no meat or any animals product including milk, eggs, honey, If they take only vegetables over the year but they go meats one day, they failed and no longer being vegetarian. There are many types of vegetarianism, classified as Buddish vegetarianism, fruitarianism, jain vegetarianism, macrobiotic diets, lacto vegetarianism, ovo vegetarianism, ovo-lacto vegetarianism, sattvic diet, veganism and raw vegetarianism. Among them, fruitarianism permits only fruit, nuts, seeds and other plant matter that can be gather without harming the plant, jain vegetarianism includes dairy but excludes eggs and honey, as well as root vegetables. (1) Meanwhile lacto vegetarianism includes dairy products but not eggs, ovo vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy products. The most well-known from the list is Buddish vegetarianism which is followed by almost people especially the orders of Buddish. Different Buddish traditions have differing teachings on diet, which may also vary for ordained monks and nuns compared to others. Many interpret the percept “not to kill” to require abstinence from meat, but not all. The earliest records about vegetarianism found in ancient Indian and ancient Greece in 7th BCE. In Asia, vegetarianism is strongly related to the statements of non-killing animals and developed by religion group and philosophers. Meanwhile in Greece, Egypt’s and other region taking vegetarian diets with purification and rituals purpose. Vegetarianism rose again in the Renaissance in 19th and 20th century. During this period, there are many well-known people who are the supporters of vegetarianism. Among them, Leonardo Da Vinci used to say that “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.” (2) In Europe, “vegetarian” first used in 1839 and the appearance of Society Vegetarian in the UK in 1847, followed by Germany, Holland and other countries. Before that, people likely used kinds of words relating to eating plants such as vegetable regimen, vegetable system of diet.
There are a lot of reasons for eating vegetarian diet depend on culture. For the reason of not harming animals and fight for animals rights. Besides that, health is a reason as well, some people even hate the taste of meats. There are also some organisations taking vegetarian diet to protect the eco systems because they believe factory farming may be harmful to the environments. In addition, they also maintain that the decreased usage of meat can help the food supply in the world. Some different reasons about the ethical are suggested for choosing vegetarian diet. There are some arguments about the ethical of eating animals. Many people who are not vegetarian and vegan but still denied eating some kinds of animals such as cats, dogs, horses or rabbits because of taboos in their cultures. The others support eating meat for the reasons of science, nutrition and culture, including religion. It is difficult to deny that being vegetarian has many disadvantages that many vegetarians may not realize. They say that its immoral in killing and consuming meat but the fact is animals also kill each other to feed themselves, why vegetarian have to feel guilty when they do that. Even the animals that kill the others could not survive. Not only animals but also plants, they also have feeling. Of course plants have neither brain, nor a center nervous system, which could be responsible for the sense of feeling, however the pain here belongs to psyche because plants also have to respond to the injuries. Another excuse for not following vegan diet is eating meat has been a world’s large culture since many centuries ago. The primitive people ate meet to suffer their hungers, or with any famine, having something to eat is already a happiness. Vegetarian diets contains a low amount of nutrient, for example Vitamin B12, which is only in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, poultry or eggs. Also the omega 3 fats is missed out in the vegan diet. Even though some opinions affirm that meat eaters would have higher risk of cancer but in fact, being vegetarian can cause colorectal cancer as well. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of the aforementioned Oxford study, which reveals: “Within the study, the incidence of all cancers combined was lower among vegetarians than among meat eaters, but the incidence of colorectal cancer was higher in vegetarians than in meat eaters.” Some of vegetarians do not consume cow’s milk when it contains lots of calcium. It brings out osteoporosis when people consume a lot of protein without any calcium. But on the contrary, high consumption can increase the risk of having ovarian cancer due to the fatty acids that is contained in milk. Instead, vegan diet should have soy milk to balance the calcium in human body.
Nutritionally wise, being a vegetarian can be seen as a big disadvantage due to the lack of protein, minerals and vitamins like B12. For growth, that is vital and necessary. Vitamin B12, which is essential for converting protein, fats and carbohydrates into energy and is found in meet. According to diet experts, children who are raised as vegetarian cannot find large amounts of nutrients in their meals, especially iron, copper, zinc, vitamin D or vitamin B12. Not only but also the amino acid which contains in a vegan-plan cannot be provided as much as a non-vegan, therefore vegetarian will not get enough nutrient, this may cause tiredness, moodiness. Secondly, vegetarian think that eating meat is unethical or maybe a cruel, however it is actually not. Consuming meat has been a part of human evolution for million years. Since, people could not think of other excuse not to eat meat due to the hunger. Non-vegan have said that vegetarian has mistakenly elevate the value of animal’s life over plant life. They venerate animal’s life when plants also respond to electrochemical or deforestation so it is also harmful whenever vegetarians kill and eat plants. Another opinion against is that processed vegetarian options such as tofu can cause lots of greenhouse gas pollution, according to WWF’s report in 2010. Therefore, being vegetarian could not contribute to the better environment.
Despite of the disadvantage, there must be tons of advantage reasons that vegetarians choose their own diet. First of all, vegan diet can help people prevent cancers such as cardiovascular, low blood pressure which is contained in meat and the saturated fat from meat. In addition, vegetables, fruits and whole grain can provide fiber that is necessary for human and avoid cholesterol, which is found in animal-based foods that may harm the heart. Secondly, vegan diet can control the better weight, so that it can decrease the proportion of overweight people. Obesity is caused by the fat in meat which vegetables and fruits have none. Instead of fatty meat, they can consume butter or cheese to balance the amounts of necessary fat in blood. Another reason for vegetarian eating style is to protect the environment due to the high meet consumption which is harmful for greenhouse gases. Producing meat requires lots of water, specifically 15,500 liters per kilo and going to be underestimate in 10 years later. There are still some advantages in the way of being vegan. A balanced vegetarian diet brings lower risks of having disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or obesity. According to the World Cancer Reserch Fund, eating meat increase the risk of getting diabetes in woman. A vegetarian diet is rich in grains, nuts and soy proteins so that it can help diabetes people to improve glycemic control. Also, being vegan can live longer derive from the risk of death from cancer and avian influenza and becoming overweight. In spite of the number nutrient in meat, vegetable absorb a large number of calcium. Meat has high renal acid which is then passed to urine and gone. In some countries, fruits and vegetables are cheaper than meat. Hence, people can save a large amount of money from consuming food. It is not a big problem to a well-to-do family but yes for the one who have poor circumstance. Therefore they can reduce the spending as much as possible. To sum up, the records above shows the history of vegetarianism, positive and negative impacts of this way of eating. Both of these way has its own merits, however, the advantages of taking vegetarian diet seem to outweigh the disadvantages. Moreover, people can see that in spite of some benefits about animals and health, it also has some drawbacks in the amount of main nutrients which is very necessary for human body. As a result, people should consider when decide to eat their diet and get some advices from nutrientists.
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