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10 reasons to go veggie

4 MIN READ • 16th May 2022
Health and Wellbeing by Health and Wellbeing

Slimmer, healthier, sexier... just some of the benefits to being a vegetarian that could have you ditching your carnivorous ways


  • Research tells us that veggies are slimmer than meaties, regardless of calorie consumption. Scientists from California’s Loma Linda University found that meat-avoiders had lower BMIs than meat-eaters even though they had similar calorie intakes. The research doesn’t take into account how much exercise the participants did, but keep in mind that the cal count might not be as important as you think when it comes to weight loss. “Vegetarians are more likely to eat lots of legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas and beans,” says top nutritionist Jackie Lynch (well-well-well.co.uk). “As well as being brilliant sources of plant protein, they’re rich in fibre and stabilise bloodsugar, which supports weight management.”


  • On average, we shell out £15.80 on meat and fish in a weekly shop for a family of four, say figures from the Office for National Statistics, and just £4.20 on vegetables and £3.50 on fruit. If you opt for plant-based protein, like quinoa, beans, nuts and lentils instead, you can slash your food bill and still get all the goodness needed to fill you up and replenish your bod post-workout.


  • Even though foods like chicken breast and steak deliver essential protein, iron and zinc, making them great fuel for your body, especially after a tough fitness sesh, studies show that eating too much meat ups your risk of the C-word. One report by the WHO says that eating just 50g of processed meat a day (that’s less than two bacon rashers) could increase your risk of colon cancer by 18 percent! Another study, published in the British Medical Journal, linked high red meat intakes with breast cancer.
    The Department of Health advises we limit red and processed meat to 70g a day, which is about one quarter pounder beefburger (78g), or a couple of thin slices of roast beef, lamb or pork.
    Help your heart
    According to a study from the University of Oxford, vegetarians’ risk of heart disease is 32 percent lower than their animal-chomping counterparts. The researchers found that the average herbivorous human not only had a lower BMI, but also lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure than carnivorous types, hence their superior heart health.


  • If saving money, animals and the world doesn’t convince you to cross our farmyard friends off the menu, this might: it could increase your life expectancy, as Harvard scientists found a link between a high intake of protein from animal sources and increased mortality rates. The experts suggest that with simple diet swaps, like replacing your usual sausage for nuts, pulses and other plant-based protein, you could munch your way to longevity.
    Boost yor libido
    Turns out veggies are the red-blooded ones after all. According to research published in the journal Hormones and Behaviour, eating tofu can improve your sex life. It’s thought that the phytoestrogens and other compounds rich in plant based foods, like soya beans (which tofu is made from), can influence hormone levels and heighten sex drive. Bring on the bean curd!


  • Of course, a major reason people shun meat is because they don’t want animals to suffer. It’s the unsavoury truth that livestock is often reared in factory farms with poor conditions, overcrowded cages and little access to daylight or fresh air before being slaughtered and ending up on our plates. If this bothers you but you don’t want to give up animal protein altogether, you can ease your conscience by opting for higher welfare products, like free-range and organic. But don’t be fooled by phrases like ‘farm assured’ or ‘farm fresh’ – see the Compassion in World Farming website (ciwf.org.uk) for labelling details.


  • While we’re talking ethics, let’s consider the environmental cost of mass meat farming. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimate livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, it can take as much as 12kg of grain to produce just 1kg of beef. So while millions of people are starving and suffering malnutrition, our cows are getting fed and plumped up ready for juicy steak dinners. A big difference could be made if we all ate less meat. It was with this aim that Stella McCartney set up Meat Free Monday (meatfreemondays.com) along with dad Paul and sister Mary, encouraging people to have at least one non-meat day a week. Check out the website for more info and tasty recipe ideas.


  • On a shallower note: eating plenty of fruit and veg can boost your complexion so much so that you’re more attractive to the opposite sex, say researchers from the University of St Andrews! “Eating plenty of vegetables exposes you to a broad range of antioxidant plant compounds which have anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Jackie. But meaties can reap the benefits too – the research found you only need two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day to get your glow on, and you should see results within six weeks.


  • If all that extra nookie isn’t enough to put a smile on your face, embracing your inner herbivore can actually have a positive effect on your mindframe. According to a study published in Nutrition Journal, people who cut out all meat and fish from their diets saw improvements in their moods after just two weeks. The scientists put the results down to omnivores having higher intakes of omega-six in relation to omega-three fatty acids – which has been linked to depression – compared to vegetarians.

Fancy giving the veggie lifestyle a whirl but unsure of where to start in the kitchen? Fresh food home delivery service Bodychef offer a vegetarian diet plan packed with quality ingredients and nutritious meals which are prepared and delivered straight to your door! Prices vary depending on calorie levels eg. £17.98 per day at 1200 calories. bodychef.com
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