There has never been a better time to cut down on meat consumption or go vegetarian entirely. In the last couple of years, a number of studies released seem to suggest that there is a strong correlation between a number of lifestyle diseases and excessive consumption of red and processed meats. According to the World Cancer Research, there is solid evidence linking such foods to bowel cancer.
Lifestyles diseases are not the only cause of concern. The demand for meat products fueled by a growing middle class globally is driving large scale poultry farms to overuse antibiotics that are proving resistant to treatment of certain bacteria. With an estimated 80 percent of raw chicken in some countries containing these resistant bacteria, there is a high risk they could be transferred to humans during handling or when cooked. Reports by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention further indicate that 325,000 people are hospitalized and a 5,000 more lose their lives as a result of food-borne illnesses every year.
Health experts have taken note and now recommend cutting down on red and processed meat. They suggest eating not in excess of 500 grams of red meat per week. But becoming vegetarian seems to even offer better rewards including:
- Keeping diseases at bay-In addition to lower risks of getting bowel cancer, some medical practitioners believe that cardiovascular diseases are lower in vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians. Vegetarian diets tend to contain less fat and cholesterol.
- Vegetarians have an increased chance of living longer-based on a 30 year old study of at least 600 centenarians, residents of Okinawa in Japan have one of the longest life expectancy globally. They cited eating a low calorie diet of unrefined carbohydrates, soya, fiber rich fruits and vegetables.
- Aid in keeping weight down– processed foods and those rich in saturated fats are not health. These types of food increase the chances of weight gain. In contrast, a study conducted in California revealed that overweight people who cut down on fat and adopted a vegetarian diet lost almost 11 kilograms annually and maintained the weight five years later.
- Vegetarians are likely to have more energy-healthy nutrition produces more usable energy. Too much fat often common in fatty dishes clog the arteries which slow down our bodies and keeping us less active. In contrast, foods rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes supply the body with sufficient energy to keep the body active.