World Vegetarian Day is observed on October 1 to highlight the environmental and health benefits of living a vegetarian life. The celebration aims to make people aware of the health, humanitarian, and environmental benefits of being a vegetarian. Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry, or fish. People turn to vegetarianism for a variety of reasons including health concerns, dislike of meat, compassion for animals, and economics.
Nutritionists affirm that a vegetarian diet is sufficient to meet people’s nutrition needs. A vegetarian diet, like any other diet, should include a wide food variety such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, and leafy greens.
Even without meat, a vegetarian diet can meet the nutritional requirements of a complete and healthy diet. Vegetarians get their proteins and iron from food items such as beans, tofu, and nuts. Broccoli, kale, collard greens, soymilk, and orange juice are good sources of calcium. Fortified foods such as veggie meats, soy milk, and nutritional yeast are good sources of vitamin B12. Soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed, and tofu provide Omega-3 fatty acids. Almost every type of nutrient that meat eaters get from their diet can also be obtained from a vegetarian diet.
Health Benefits of Eating Vegetables
A vegetarian diet is rich in fiber, folic acid, unsaturated fats, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Eating vegetables regularly can help reduce body weight, lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Eating vegetables may also improve a person’s mood, lower the risk of developing cataracts, and reduce the incidence of diabetes.
A vegetarian diet may also contribute to skin health. Oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, and berries are rich in vitamin C, which may bolster skin tissues and promote a healthy skin glow. Vitamin C can help prevent free radicals from damaging the skin and causing premature aging. Veggies such as broccoli, spinach, and carrots are rich in vitamin A which also contributes to healthy skin. As Mom used to say, “Eat your veggies.” They’ll help you look and feel your best.