Whether you want to improve your health, save money or simply fancy a change, going vegetarian holds more benefits than you might think. Take a look at our eight great reasons to go meat-free!
Cut your cancer risk
There have been a number of studies which suggest that eating a plant-based diet and eliminating meat from the menu completely can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. In one study published in the British Journal of Cancer, a sample on 35,000 women showed that those who had high quantities of red meat in their diet had the highest breast cancer risk, while further studies have linked consumption to colon, gastric and pancreatic cancers.
Research carried out at Loma Linda University in California also looked at patients sticking to different variations of vegetarian diets, and found vegans had the lowest cancer risk of all – especially among women. So eschewing meat might be good for your longevity as well as the animals!
Save the pennies
Even if you don't opt for pricey organic meat, the processed version found in supermarkets is still dearer than a plate of healthy vegetables. Can't comprehend a life without burgers? Try going meat-free for just two days a week and your pocket is guaranteed to feel the difference.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
A vegetarian diet is said to contribute to lowering your risk of heart disease by up to 20 per cent. Saturated fats, found in red meats and processed meats contribute to an increase in LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the blood; a key cause of coronary heart disease and heart failure. And we need our hearts for marathon running!
Go green for a healthier heart and give this shakshuka and minty yoghurt a go.
Lower your diabetes risk
Studies have shown that following a vegetarian diet can vastly reduce chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. With the development of Type 2 diabetes depending highly on weight control, vegetarian diets have been proven to be beneficial in treating the condition and helping to reduce blood sugar levels.
Plant-based foods, nuts, pulses, vegetables, and seeds have also been shown to help in the treatment of health problems and resulting in as reduced hypertension, lower cholesterol levels and reduced cancer rates. What more excuses do you need to reach for the green stuff?
Lose the extra pounds
Diets high in saturated fats and processed meat, when not paired with an equally high intake of fruit and veggies can lead to weight gain. Along with an increase in weight comes the added risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
While a vegetarian diet does not necessarily cut out the risk of weight gain completely, research suggests that switching from a diet high in red meats to a low-fat, vegetarian diet can see losses of up to 10 kilograms in weight after a year.
As a result, vegetarians have found to be better at maintaining a healthy weight over longer periods. In short, you'll look better in your running kit if you go veggie. Try our low-fat mushroom curry to get started!
Improve your mood
Arachidonic acid is a substance found in animal products and unsurprisingly it's not plentiful in vegetarian diets. Researchers have found a link between arachidonic acid and mood and it has been suggested that a wholly plant-based diet without the consumption of meat could in fact make you feel happier as well as contributing to your health.
Try this meat-free hearty bean casserole to kick start your sunny disposition!