The UN stated in its report on land use and climate change that reducing meat consumption could be one of the main ways to combat climate change. After that vegetarianism was discussed not only as a way of life for individuals but also as an opportunity to cardinally alter the diet of humanity as a whole.
If the idea of environmentally friendly consumption is close to you and you want to exclude meat from the diet, we recommend that you first study the pros and cons and not mindlessly follow the trend. How switching to a plant-based diet can affect your body?
Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Scientists argue that people who reduce meat consumption and eat more plant foods are less prone to diseases of the cardiovascular system. A study published in 2019 in the journal American Heart Association, which covered more than 12 thousand middle-aged U.S. residents, reports that a complete rejection of meat significantly reduces the likelihood of heart disease, high blood pressure, and death from these causes.
Nutrition experts emphasize that this only applies to red meat. Fish that are high in omega 3 fatty acids are good for the heart. Those who plan to completely abandon all types of meat should add to the diet other sources of healthy fats like almonds and walnuts.
Intestinal Microbiome May Change
The complete exclusion of meat products from the diet can affect the intestinal microbiome. According to a certified nutrition consultant, manufactures are often injecting animals with hormones and antibiotics during rearing, which later when eating meat can affect our microbiome in the same way as taking antibiotics. It is likely that after giving up meat, your intestines will develop more beneficial bacterias.
Digestion Problems are Possible
A vegan lifestyle can, on the contrary, impair digestion. It all depends on what you replace the meat with. If you replace it with plant foods, then you will eat more fiber and will certainly feel better. If you replace it with sweet or more processed foods than this can lead to an imbalance in the intestines.
Reduce the Risk of Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes
Scientists have been studying the effects of plant diets on health for a long time but additional data are still needed on this issue. There are a lot of studies saying that refusing meat reduces the risk of many serious diseases. A study of almost 125 thousand people worldwide, published in 2012 in the journal Karger, found that vegetarianism can reduce the risk of cancer by 18%.
A review of nine research papers conducted at JAMA Internal Health reveals a significant association between a fully plant-based diet and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The positive effect of a plant-based diet on the body is partly due to a decrease in the level of saturated fats and sodium, which are abundant in meat.
The Genetics of Your Descendants May Change
The vegetarian lifestyle of several generations of people is able to change the genetics of their offspring. A 2016 study claims that vegetarian populations of people develop a genetic mutation that allows them to convert plant foods into healthy fatty acids for the brain and heart. If humanity refuses meat, it is possible that future generations of the inhabitants of the Earth will have completely different genetics.
Reduce the Inflammation Processes
A study of the effect of plant diets on intestinal microbiomes, published in 2019 in the journal Nature, found another useful effect of refusing meat. It reduces the level of systemic inflammation in the body. As noted in the article, the cause of lower systemic inflammation in plant diets may be due to the abundance of consumption of anti-inflammatory molecules and the avoidance of pro-inflammatory molecules of animal origin.
A vegetarian diet that eliminates red meat increases inflammation and helps to get rid of annoying chronic neck, hip, pelvic, and knee pain.
Refusing Meat Can Lead to Nutritional Deficiencies
Do not forget about the main risk of vegetarianism which is a lack of nutrients. There are certain nutrients found only in animal sources such as vitamin B12 or which have low bioavailability in plant sources as vitamin D3, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. When refusing meat, you should definitely look for alternative sources of B12 and be very attentive to the balance of your diet.