Giving up meat is, for many people, the most difficult part of adopting a plant-based diet. So many cultures all over the world value meat as the tastiest, most important part of any meal. However, both history and science show that people have been living lengthy, delicious-food-filled lives long before burgers and steaks were made popular.
While it might seem hard to quit meat, there are so many wonderful benefits to giving it up. Here are five ways your life will definitively improve after cutting meat from your diet.
1. You’ll be happier
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry looked at more than 3,000 participants over a five-year period. What it found was that people who ate plant-based diets were far less likely to suffer from depression. Research has linked depression to inflammation in the brain and chemical imbalances. Plant-based foods, which are loaded with antioxidants and other nutritional goodies, reduce said inflammation and restore balance to the body, brain included. Veganism helps your physical and mental health.
2. You might lose weight
Now, you don’t have to lose weight and this certainly isn’t a default plus for everyone. Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, explored connections between a plant-based diet and weight loss. What he found was, on average, people lost 7.5 pounds on a plant-based diet. His findings have since been published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
3. Your productivity will increase
We’ve already heard that a plant-based diet can boost our mood and help us with depression. However, the lifestyle itself can provide much relief in a stimulating world. In a piece for Fast Company, writer Elizabeth Segran talked about how giving up meat made her more productive. Simply, she found that not having as many options to eat out and not having to worry about how to get healthy meals — as whole food diets are incredibly healthy already — gave her more time to focus on her work.
4. You lower your risk for cancer and heart disease
Plant-based diets can help prevent a whole list of diseases and physical problems including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallstones, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and asthma. A plant-based diet is one of the most powerful tools in keeping ourselves in good shape.
5. You’ll say goodbye to inflammation
Meat, cheese, and other highly processed foods will cause major inflammation in your body. Vegetables and other whole foods, on the other hand, will do the opposite. The fiber and antioxidants in plant-based foods are naturally anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation is nothing to ignore, as it can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, among many other conditions.