A debate on whether one should eat animal meat or just stick to a plant-based diet has been going on for decades now. The interest in adopting a vegetarian diet is higher than ever and we have a growing number of celebrities and health enthusiasts who are becoming vegetarians every day.
While meat lovers refuse to give up on their favorite food, vegetarian people claim that animal meat is harmful and that plant-based diet is the way to go if one wants to optimize their health. Is there any truth in these claims? Like everything else in life, things are not always black or white, and to answer that question thoroughly, we need a closer examination.
In the lines below, we will talk about these two diets in more detail and we will see whether one is indeed superior to the other or it all comes down to a personal choice. Let’s get started!
What are the benefits of adopting a vegetarian diet?
First of all, we have to point out that there are two different vegetarian diets - a strict vegetarian diet and a lacto-ovo diet. Most vegetarians fall into the lacto-ovo category. In other words, they mainly consume non-animal products like grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, but they consume animal byproducts like milk and eggs as well. If you ensure that all of your nutritional requirements are met, this diet can indeed be very good and healthy for your body.
Here are some key benefits that you can expect by following a vegetarian regime:
- Your mood will improve according to a growing number of independent studies, vegetarians have lower rates of both anxiety and depression than their meat-eating counterparts. One reason why that may be the case lies in the freshness of most vegetarian dishes and that especially applies to organic food. This combination can easily purify your mind and keep your thoughts positive.
- You will overcome diseases more effectively while we are yet to see definitive conclusions on this matter, preliminary data suggests that a vegetarian diet can boost your immune system and help you fight disease. This diet is also low in saturated fats and cholesterol and that fact alone can play an important role in the prevention of heart disease, obesity, diabetes type 2, and some types of cancer.
- You will lose weight more effectively If you’re struggling with obesity, a vegetarian diet will help you reduce your body weight. As you will consume fewer calories (on average) than meat-eaters and as your diet will contain healthier foods than the regular New Zealand diet, the excess pounds will start going down very quickly. A lean-figure is more of a side-effect of being a vegetarian but what a beneficial side-effect that is.
- Plant-based foods have less toxicity than meat We all know how polluted our environment is, and unfortunately, that applies to what we eat as well. Luckily, we can choose what we put into our mouths, and based on numerous long-term studies, by sticking to a plant-based diet, we can restrict the number of toxic ingredients that get into our bodies. Chemical toxins, food-borne diseases, parasites, bacteria - all of these are far more common in meat than plants, especially if we’re talking about organic plant foods. This is yet another reason why being a vegetarian can pay off enormously in the long run.
- Vegetarian people tend to live longer than meat-eaters Last (but not least), people who stick to plant-based diets are far more likely to reap some longevity benefits than meat-eaters. The reason? We already mentioned most of them above - plant-based foods are less toxic, they have less saturated fats and cholesterol, and they promote healthy body weight. On top of that, vegetarians tend to avoid processed meat and they pay attention to their overall health way more than meat-eaters. As a result, it’s not surprising that they also tend to live longer on average. What we eat is very important for our overall health and longevity, and the sooner we start avoiding unhealthy foods, the bigger the benefits will be.
As you can see, if the diet is done the right way and you don’t end up being with nutritional deficiency, vegetarian diets can indeed be superior to regular meat-eating practices. But, does that mean that we should all abandon meat because it is so unhealthy? Not at all. Below, we will explain what health outcomes one can expect from a non-vegetarian diet and how you can optimize for maximum benefits.
What benefits can we expect from a meat diet?
While plant-based (once again, if it’s done accordingly) is certainly healthier in the long run, you can improve and optimize your health by following a standard meat diet as well.
Here are some of the key benefits that you can reap as a meat-eater:
- Meat diet is rich in protein A typical vegetarian diet can sometimes be protein-deficient but that doesn’t apply to meat diets. Meat in itself is a great source of protein and the same applies to other non-vegetarian foods like eggs, fish, and dairy products. While protein can also be found in vegetarian foods like nuts, cereal, and pulses, these sources are incomplete and subpar compared to meat.
- It is also a great source of vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 is essential if we want to optimize our health and it is quite difficult to get enough of it by avoiding non-vegetarian foods like meat, milk, and eggs. Vitamin B12 is very important for our nerve fibers as well as the formation of red blood cells, so the more of it, the better. On many occasions, meat is still an irreplaceable source of this important nutritional component.
- A meat diet can improve our wisdom as well Believe it or not, based on the preliminary evidence that we have, meat can improve our brain function and thus increase both our intelligence and our wisdom. If we want to be mentally sharp regardless of how old we are, we may want to consume some fresh meat from time to time.
What is the bottom-line here?
The bottom line is that we can’t say that either of these two is superior to the other. While vegetarian diets can be healthier in the long run, they can also damage your health if they’re not done accordingly. On the other hand, a regular meat diet can also be quite bad and unhealthy if you’re not careful, but many non-vegetarian foods are valuable sources of nutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. You are free to choose the diet that suits you the most, you can’t go wrong either way.
Order Meal offers plenty of different vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals and you can see our full offer here