x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Five reasons to become vegetarian

Despite numerous health warnings about the risks of meat consumption, our appetite remains unsatisfied. Here are five reasons to give a vegetarian diet a go.

The vegetarian diet offers many benefits. Courtesy photos.com
The vegetarian diet offers many benefits. Courtesy photos.com

It seems that our hunger for meat is increasing year on year. Statistics from the Worldwatch Institute show that in 2010 the average consumption of meat per capita within industrial countries was 80 kilograms a year.

This may sound counter-intuitive, given the rise in all things vegan and vegetarian. But, despite ­numerous warnings about high meat consumption – including estimates of 11 per cent of deaths in men and 16 per cent of deaths in women being preventable if the amount of red meat we eat was signifi­cantly reduced – our appetite remains ­unsatisfied.

The environmental factors don’t appear to discourage us, despite the fact that raising livestock accounts for approximately 23 per cent of all global water use in agriculture, which equates to 1.15 litres of water per person per day. In addition, we’re responsible for an estimated 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, 40 per cent of the world’s methane and 65 per cent of the world’s nitrous oxide.

These facts alone may sound like compelling reasons to go vegetarian, or at least reduce meat consumption. Here are five other reasons to go green.

1. Lose weight

The promise of a smaller waist could tempt even the most avid carnivore, so this has to be the top reason. A study at Oxford University detailing 38,000 adults made a strong case for vegetarianism, finding that meat eaters had a higher BMI for their age compared with semi-vegetarians and vegetarians.

2. Live longer

Another study from Oxford University published in the British Medical Journal found that vegetarians lived, on average, six years longer than meat eaters. It is understood that plant diets are typically richer in ­fibre and nutrients that boost the immune system and put less stress on your body.

3. Feel happier

The more fruits and vegetables that you eat, the happier you feel, with the optimal portions per day being seven. Typically, a vegetarian diet is richer in fruits and vegetables, giving an extra boost of positivity and energy, as explained by a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology.

4. Look better

Eating more fruits and vegetables, or more “live” foods, helps provide the body with “living energy” – which translates into brighter skin, shinier hair and a healthy glow. All the antioxidants in plant foods are responsible for this from increased circulation and ­oxygenation. If you want to glow, eating more raw foods will certainly help to illuminate you from within.

5. Detox

Unless you insist on going organic, meats tend to accumulate significant amounts of hormones, herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics.

Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to www.BeUtifulYou.Com

artslife@thenational.ae