Staying healthy and breathing in fresh air is what most of us desire and should work towards too. Going green is good not just for the environment but also for overall health. Limiting meat intake benefits gut health, is good for weight loss, and also reduces the risk of many diseases. The benefits depend on how much and what type of meat you limit. The benefits of limiting meat are as follows.
5 Health Benefits of Not Eating Meat
1. Reduces the Risk of Contracting Heart Disease
A plant-based diet has a positive effect on heart health.
Research found a link between the effect of saturated fat found in meat and animal products and increased risk of heart disease. (1)
This risk can be reduced by limiting the intake of meat sources that are high in saturated fats including red meat, bacon, sausages, and hot dogs.(2)
Meats that are lower in saturated fats include poultry and leaner meat.
Further, the risk of heart disease can be reduced by replacing saturated fats with sources of polyunsaturated fats that include fish, flax, and walnuts.(3)
A plant-based diet that includes nuts, avocadoes, and olive oil are a rich source of unsaturated fats. They are also rich in dietary fibers that help in reducing cholesterol levels and benefitting heart health. (4)
This is why eating more plant-based meals and cutting down on meat intake can help in benefitting heart health.
Also, processed meat is high in sodium that can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
If you want to eliminate meat completely, you can switch on to choosing leaner cuts and fish.
2. Improves Health and Weight Management
A vegetarian and vegan diet that excludes meat and animal products is linked with reducing the risk of heart diseases. (5)
Plant-based diets are also linked with improving insulin resistance and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.(6)
Limiting meat may also help in weight loss and maintenance.
A study found that people who followed a vegetarian diet for 18 weeks lost more weight than those on a non-vegetarian diet.(7) A plant-based diet has lesser calories and less fat.
Limiting meat and including more plant-based food increases the intake of antioxidants, fiber, and micronutrients. This can be extremely beneficial for overall health.
3. Improves Gut Health
A diet that is rich in plant-based food is rich in dietary fiber.
Fiber feed beneficial bacteria in the gut that is responsible for the production of compounds that have anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting properties. Gut bacteria help in preventing the growth of cancer cells and also protect against type 2 diabetes.(8,9)
Plant foods contain polyphenols that help in maintaining a healthy gut. (8) On the other hand protein and fats from animal sources, lead to the growth of less healthy gut bacteria that can have a negative influence on metabolism.
4. Protects Against Cancer
Plant foods have protective roles against colorectal and other types of cancers. (13)
5. Is Good For The Environment
Along with the many health benefits, eating less meat and more plant-based product is good for the overall environment.
Compared to producing fruits and vegetables, producing meat requires more resources and more greenhouse gas emissions. This leads to pollution. (14)
Some people have their meals mostly comprising of meat. If you fall in this category and cannot completely cut down meat intake here are a few tips on reducing its intake. After all, it is for the betterment of your own health and the environment you live in.
- Swap poultry or fish for red meat. Incorporate chicken, seafood, and turkey instead of red meat. These proteins are leaner and low in saturated fats.
- Eat more plant-based protein by including chickpeas, pinto beans, nuts, lentils, seeds, tofu, and tempeh in the diet.
- Make a goal to try one new plant food in place of meat. Lentils, quinoa, black-eyed peas, and many others can be the swapping options.
- Be a flexitarian, a term used for people who mostly eat plant-based food and sometimes eat fish or chicken.
- Try bulking the meat-heavy dishes with plant food. This can help in lessening the intake of meat.
Having a diet with little or no meat can actually benefit health. Adopting a plant-based diet can be helpful in maintaining weight and also other health conditions. It can prove to be extremely beneficial for the environment as well.