Going green is not just a way to help the environment; reducing your meat consumption benefits your whole body. If you are looking to save the planet, one major step is to just stop eating meat. Vegetarianism takes care of many things in one shot: famine, ecology, and cruelty. Even if you're not interested in becoming a vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of reasons to up your intake of plant-based meals.
1. Reduce the risk of heart disease.
Vegetarian diets are lower in saturated fat, and cholesterol, and higher in plant nutrients than most meat-based diets. Vegetarians have been shown to have a lower risk of dying of heart disease than meat eaters.
2. You could live longer.
Animal products clog your arteries and can slow down your immune system. If you switch from the standard American diet to a vegetarian diet, research shows you can add a few years to your life!
3. More energy.
Good nutrition creates more usable energy. Too much fat in your bloodstream can cause your arteries to not open properly and your muscles won't get enough oxygen. This can result in a loss of energy.
4. You'll spare the animals.
There's the saying that if you wouldn't eat a dog, you should not eat a cow, or a pig, or any animal.
5. Eating meat is bad for the environment.
A United Nations report titled "Livestock's Long Shadow" states that eating meat is "one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."
People report that when they follow a vegetarian diet, their range of foods goes from a meat based meal to a range of legumes, fruits, vegetables and grains they didn't know existed.
7. You could lose a few pounds.
A five-year study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013 showed that people who choose to follow a vegetarian diet have a lower average BMI than meat-eaters.
8. Lower your blood pressure.
Vegetarians and vegans have been shown to have less hypertension than those who eat meat.
9. Better skin.
Vegetarianism is one of the best diets for your skin. Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains means your body will have an abundance of antioxidants, which neutralize the free radicals that can bring on wrinkles, brown spots, and other signs of aging.
10. Increase your happiness.
Believe it or not, adding more fruits and veggies to your diet is a natural mood-booster!
So before you decide on your next meal, think about what you will be consuming. Would you rather have that burger, or a healthier life?