A plant-based diet has a number of health benefits, but there are also some concerns about lessening or eliminating animal products. A vegetarian diet can be higher in certain nutrients but can also lack some nutrients.
We will discuss the pros and cons of a vegetarian diet, with an emphasis on a plant-based diet’s impact on heart health and diabetes, and even on your driving ability, which can affect your insurance.
What is a vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian diet or vegetarianism focuses on eating mostly plant-based foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products such as tofu or tempeh.
Some vegetarians may also eat small amounts of animal products like milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, fish, or seafood. Vegetarian diets will eliminate meat like beef, chicken, or pork.
Vegetarian Diets and Insurance
Any type of healthy eating style, including a vegetarian diet, can enhance overall wellness and lower your risk of many chronic diseases. Heart disease and diabetes are two chronic diseases that can be affected by your lifestyle and eating habits.
Your auto, health, and life insurance can also be affected by your health status and any chronic conditions you may have. For example, DMII insurance is not needed if you have diabetes, but the disease can affect your rates if you have had an accident because of it.
Health and life insurance can be more costly if you have health issues like diabetes. It’s important to eat a varied and balanced diet to live a healthy lifestyle. A vegetarian diet is one option to help you do that.
Pros of Vegetarian Diets
There are a number of pros to eating a vegetarian diet. Research shows a lower risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and diabetes. A plant-based diet is also linked to increased longevity.
A vegetarian diet is high in fiber because fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are great sources of fiber. Fiber helps prevent constipation, keeps your gastrointestinal tract healthy, and can lower cholesterol levels.
Plant foods like fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients like antioxidants and phytochemicals. These colorful compounds help boost health and prevent free radicals from damaging cells in the body. They can also lower inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Vegetarian diets are also low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Eating less of these two substances is important to keep your heart healthy. Lowering your cholesterol can improve your health and life insurance rates. Vegetarian diets are a good source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
Cons of Vegetarian Diets
While there are many benefits to a vegetarian diet, there are also some low levels of nutrients in these diets. Protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 are some of the main nutrients that are lower in a vegetarian diet.
It may be more difficult to get enough protein from a vegetarian diet. Most plant-based foods are lacking amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Nuts, beans, seeds, and soy products are alternate sources of protein, but vegetarians need to eat a variety of these sources to get all the amino acids they need for good health.
Calcium is a mineral that is important for bone health. The best sources of calcium are dairy products, which may be minimized or eliminated by vegetarians.
Plant-based dairy products are a great swap because they are fortified with calcium. Green vegetables, soy products, and calcium-fortified cereals can also provide this mineral in our diet.
Iron is another mineral of concern since it plays a role in carrying oxygen throughout the body. The iron found in animal foods is better absorbed by our body.
Plant foods like grains, beans, spinach, and iron-fortified grains have iron. Combining these foods with a vitamin C-rich food like fruits and vegetables can help the body better absorb the iron from plant foods.
Vitamin B12 is important for energy metabolism as well as for blood and nerve cells. Animal foods are the best sources of vitamin B12. A vegetarian should either eat vitamin B12-fortified foods like cereals or soy products or choose to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
A multivitamin can help supplement a vegetarian diet and provide some of the missing nutrients. It can be difficult to eat a variety of plant foods every day, and a multivitamin can be extra insurance so you aren’t missing out on important nutrients.
Variety Is the Key to a Healthy Vegetarian Diet
The health benefits of a vegetarian diet are numerous, but this doesn’t come without some concerns. Eating a varied diet with lots of different plant foods is the best way to get all the nutrients you need for good health and to prevent diseases.
Melissa Morris writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. She is a university professor of nutrition and an ISSN certified sports nutritionist.