Vegetarian diets can help combat diseases.
A vegetarian diet has many benefits, people following this kind of diet often show lower level of cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and have lower probability of suffering from hypertension, obesity, diabetes type 2, and cancer. Vegetarian diets can be grouped in 3 types:
- Strict (vegan): excludes all kinds of meat and all animal derived products.
- Lacto-vegetarian: includes products derived from plants and dairy products.
- Ovo-lacto-vegetarian: include dairy products and eggs.
Though a vegetarian diet may come with many benefits, it is necessary to pay close attention in acquiring the proper nutrients our body needs. And to do so, we must have a great variety of foods. Vegetarian nutrients must be focused in including calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, iron, and proteins. Vegetarian diets are good to adopt in all periods of life, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, infancy, teenagers, the elderly, and even for athletes.
Many people are choosing vegetarian diets. Some reasons for this are a sense of compassion towards animals, the wish to protect the environment, allergies, to lower the risk of chronic diseases, or to handle diseases therapeutically. Well planned vegetarian diets must include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
According to global study by The Nielsen Holdings about Health and perception of ingredients, 83% of Mexicans claim to follow a special diet restricting them to consume certain foods or avoid specific ingredients; additionally, the study revealed that Mexico is the country with more vegetarians in Latin America. A significant number of Mexicans follow diets that have a minimal consumption of meat or it is excluded all together.
Studies indicate the use therapeutic use of a vegetarian diet is efficient to combat overweight, and can be better than alternative omnivore diets that include animal products and vegetables. Two meta-analysis of intervention trials showed that the adoption of vegetarian diets is associated with better weight loss in comparison with controlled diet groups. It has been shown that vegetarian diets improve risk factors of modifiable heart diseases, such as abdominal obesity, blood pressure, blood lipid profile, and blood glucose levels; reduce oxidative stress (an imbalance in our cells because of an increase of free radicals or a diminish of antioxidants); and protect the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. If a vegetarian diet is followed with other life improving factors like not smoking and weight loss, it may reverse atherosclerosis.
Regarding diabetes, according with the Adventist Health study 2 (AHS-2), meat consumers more than double the prevalence of diabetes compared to ovo-lacto-vegetarians and vegans. The Adventist Health Study showed that the probability of developing diabetes reduced in 77% for vegans and 54% for ovo-lacto-vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians (adjusted by age). It is sustained that a vegetarian diet can be effective in fighting some diseases and even prevent others; but still, it is important to go to a Health specialist that can help with a proper nutrition plan for you. Everybody is different and to have a good functioning organism remember to follow the recommendations of Health professionals.
Brenda Giselle Álvarez Rodríguez (Public Health Research Unit) and Cassandra Saldaña Pineda (Knowledge Management Unit).
-Article: “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian
Diets”. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2016. Volume 116,
Issue 12, Pages 1970-1980.
-Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
– The Nielsen Company.