Vegetarians, in general, can be defined as people who don’t eat animal food (flesh food, egg) but consume milk and milk products. It is a common perception that following vegetarianism leads to various deficiencies so it’s best to avoid it. But it is a wrong perception, as the vegetarian diet is complete in every sense and doesn’t cause any deficiency. We at Saaol advice strict vegetarian and oil-free food. There are many advantages to following a vegetarian diet which is scientifically proven.
Scientific advantages of Vegetarianism
• Heart Disease prevention: Vegetarian diet contains very less amount of cholesterol. Therefore it helps in the prevention of formation of blockages in the arteries.
• Lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer: It is scientifically proven that regular consumption of diet filled with fruits, vegetables and fibre can help reduce the risk of lung disease and related illness and also cancer.
• High in antioxidants: Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants these antioxidants fight against the free radicals which damage the cell membranes, disturb chromosomes, genetic material and destroy valuable enzymes, causing a chain reaction of damage throughout the body. Nutrients like Vitamin C & E are some of the antioxidants present in the fruits and vegetables. As the antioxidants reduce the free radicals they help to reduce the ageing time and also reduces the damage caused to the skin. Therefore they make you healthy and look younger.
• High in fibre: Fiber is a very important requirement in daily food intake as it prevents constipation and removes cholesterol from the body helping to maintain a healthy level/normal range of cholesterol in the body. It reduces the absorption of glucose, thereby helping diabetics achieve better blood sugar control and prevent diabetes in others.
• Leads to weight reduction, good for preventing high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity: Vegetarian diet contains lots of fibre and when it is consumed regularly, reducing the quantity of fat it helps in weight loss. The weight loss, in turn, reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Why Non-Vegetarian food is bad?
Most of the people who follow a non-vegetarian diet think that vegetarianism is against them but the fact is that vegetarianism is in support of everyone’s good health and well being. When we deeply look into the contents of non-vegetarian food we can easily point out all that is harmful in them.
• Non-vegetarian food is low in fibre. All the non-vegetarian food is very low in fibre so do not provide any help in relieving problems of constipation neither they help in any reduction of cholesterol.
• Non-vegetarian food is high in cholesterol. All the non-vegetarian foods are loaded with cholesterol that is one of the prime culprits that causes blockages in the arteries. Non-vegetarians keep eating these foods unaware of what harm cholesterol is causing them.
• Non-vegetarian food has a high-fat content the fat content of non-vegetarian food is very high. Some are naturally present in them while loads of oil is added while cooking which adds up to the total fat content of the food. The oil that is used for cooking also helps in the blockage formation.
• Non-vegetarian food is very costly. Non vegetarian foods are very expensive compared to the vegetarian food so it falls very heavy on the pocket. It is also a reason we say non-vegetarian food is bad as it affects the monetary condition of the family especially in middle income and low-income group.
• It is cruel/Non-ethical In many religion killing of living is strictly prohibited. On looking at a social perspective also killing of animals are inhuman or non-ethical act and it should stop immediately.
Common Myths related to Vegetarianism
• Protein quality is low in vegetarian food: Protein quality in vegetarian food is low. It is because pulses are deficient in an amino acid which is present in cereals and cereal is deficient in an amino acid which is present in pulses so the combination of cereal and pulses in the daily diet improves the quality of protein. On average cereals contains 8gm/100gm and protein content in pulses is approximately 20gm/100gm. whereas the protein content of most of the non-vegetarian food is 20gm/100gm. Therefore, it is advised always to use a cereal pulse combination
• Calcium, Vitamin B12 and iron deficiency are present: Calcium is less in vegetarian food. It is completely the wrong concept. Vegetables like Lotus Stem, Amaranth, and Bengal gram are rich in calcium. Lotus stem contains 405mg/100gm, amaranth contains 300mg/100gm likewise Bengal gram contains 202mg/100gm. In non-vegetarian, the calcium content is high only in fish that is 74mg/100gm whereas chicken contains approximately 15mg/100gm. So, one can see that vegetarian food is not deficient in Calcium. Vitamin B12 deficiency is present if vegetarian food is consumed. Vegetarian food is not either deficient in vitamin B12 as it is present in small amounts in fruits and vegetables. Daily consumption of fruits and vegetables takes care of the daily requirement of vitamin B12. Apart from fruits and vegetables vitamin B12 is manufactured in our gut by the microbes. Iron deficiency is present in a vegetarian diet. There is a common perception that vegetarian food is deficient of iron which is totally wrong as cereals and pulses like bajra, rice flakes and Bengal gram are rich in iron. Green leafy vegetables like mustard leaves, bathua, Bengal gram leaves are rich in iron all of them contains about 8mg or more of iron/100gm. Vegetarian source of iron requires Vitamin C for its absorption. Therefore it is advised to eat citrus fruits for better absorption of iron.
• It’s a common perception that vegetarians are weak: This concept that vegetarians are weak (physically or mentally) is a wrong myth. Vegetarians or non-vegetarians both can be weak if they do not select their food items properly required for a balanced and healthy diet. Vegetarians should carefully combine all the food groups that are milk, cereals, pulses, vegetables and fruits in their daily diet. If all these food groups are included in their daily diet there won’t be any chances of deficiency or weakness. Moreover it is seen that there are great writers, scientists and historic icons who were vegetarians who prove their metal in their respective fields. Animals like elephant, rhino & buffalo are vegetarian, still they are very strong. So, we say be vegetarian and spread vegetarianism for your and the entire societies welfare.