How much does a vegetarian diet affect our health?

Health benefits from the right plant-based diet

There are many reasons to stop eating meat. Regardless of whether for idealistic, taste or health reasons: Vegetarian nutrition is in trend and is becoming increasingly popular. Nevertheless, vegetarians are also faced with many prejudices. Many people believe that giving up meat is accompanied by a lack of nutrients. What happens to our bodies when we stop eating meat?

According to the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach (IfD) and the market and opinion research institute YouGov, around eight million people in Germany have a vegetarian diet. Around 1.3 million people are vegans and do without all animal products. An upward trend in the vegetarian diet has been observed in recent years. In addition, many people do not stop eating meat, but at least reduce it. Many people wonder what effects a meat waiver has on the body and health.

Numerous health benefits

"A plant-based diet has a positive effect on health," says the vegetarian nutrition organization ProVeg on its website. A wholesome plant-based diet can help prevent most diseases of civilization. According to ProVeg, several studies have already shown that a plant-based diet prevents osteoporosis, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, protects against high blood pressure, prevents obesity and serves as a prevention against kidney and heart diseases.

Meat is responsible for many heart and cancer diseases

Numerous studies on the subject of meat consumption have appeared in recent years. However, there was no good news for meat lovers:

200 grams of meat a day increases the risk of rapid death by 23 percent, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported.

Very high cancer risk from processed meat, writes the International Journal of Cancer.

Those who stop consuming red meat reduce their risk of serious heart diseases after just three to four weeks, the European Heart Journal emphasizes.

International researchers agree: From a health perspective, high meat consumption is not justifiable. The World Health Organization (WHO) also warns of the consequences of frequent meat consumption and classifies processed meat products as carcinogenic.

Prejudice: vegans suffer from malnutrition

Many people assume that if they do not eat meat, they will lack nutrients. The most well-known deficiency in plant nutrition is iron deficiency. Iron can be covered with meat quickly, but according to ProVeg this also has numerous disadvantages. Because with animal iron, cholesterol and saturated fatty acids are also absorbed at the same time. However, the need for iron can easily be met through plant-based food if certain aspects are taken into account, such as:

  • Every day, iron-containing foods such as amaranth, lentils, parsley or sesame seeds should be included in the menu.
  • Citric and malic acid, fruits and vegetables with a high vitamin C content as well as onions and garlic favor the absorption of vegetable iron.
  • Heating, fermenting, germinating or malting iron-containing foods promotes iron absorption.
  • Coffee, black tea and wine, on the other hand, inhibit iron absorption and should not be consumed together with iron-containing food.

Cover protein through plant nutrition

Another prejudice about plant-based nutrition is that the protein requirement cannot be met. A plant-based diet offers a variety of good protein sources. "Among the plant foods, legumes such as lentils, peas, soybeans and beans as well as cereals such as rice, oats, millet, wheat, spelled and rye are particularly important as protein suppliers," ProVeg wrote in a message. Soy products such as tofu and tempeh are also good sources of protein, as are nuts, almonds and seeds.

Vitamin B12 intake

Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal products. When it comes to adequate vitamin B12 intake, some of the prejudices about a meatless diet are correct. "A sufficient vitamin B12 intake is possible with a vegetarian diet," emphasizes ProVeg. A sufficient intake can hardly be achieved for pure vegans. Supplements, fortified food or vitamin B12 toothpaste have to be used here. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: 10 Things That Happened When I Went Vegan (January 2022).