Benefits of vegetarian food

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Vegetarian foods are conducive for longevity, strength and purity of mind and body.

All living beings are originated from food. They sustain and develop on food. It is indispensable for living creatures. The word Anna is derived from Sanskrit verb ‘ad’ which means to eat, thus Anna means ‘that which is eaten’.

As per Manusmruti, if the food is pure, mind and body become pure as they are derived from the food.

Qualitative difference of foods (Ref. Bhagavad-Gita)

Satvic foods are conductive for longevity, strength and purity of mind and body. They bring freedom from diseases, happiness, and cheerfulness. These are juicy, containing lubricant fat, enduring and pleasant, are agreeable to the Satvic personality. The Satvic food is of superior grade.

Rajasika foods are of moderate type. They are very bitter, harsh or pungent in nature. Tamasika foods are of inferior type. They are having foul smell, stale, unclean and once again induce disease and Tamasika bhava in a person.

The quality of a person depends on the grade of food he eats. So, if a person of lower grade adapts to the food of a higher grade, then in course of time his character gets raised to that superior grade. For the sake of better health it is necessary to eat predominantly Satvic foods.

Why Vegetarianism?

A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher’s stall passes as food!
~J. H. Kellogg

A comparison of the human anatomy with that of herbivorous, frugivorous and carnivorous animals shows that the human system resembles that of the frugivorous animals and not with that of the carnivorous.

Meat begins to putrefy the moment the animal is slaughtered and the longer the interval between the killing and the eating of flesh the filthier it becomes. The same applies to the fish also.

Before animals are taken to the slaughterhouse, they are over fed and artificially fattened, so that more meat could be obtained from them. They are also drugged. Again in most cases only old and sick animals are slaughtered. The meat of such animals cannot be health promoting. If the water is polluted, as is often the case, the fish taken out of them can be very harmful.

All the types of non-veg foods are very rich in saturated fatty acids. Consumption of them for long periods can produce arteriosclerosis, fatty deposits in the liver, heart and kidney.

When animals were slaughtered, they will be in frightened and angry state; on eating meat of such animals, the same emotions increases in the man too.

It is necessary to correct the error that vegetarianism has made us weak in mind, or passive or inert in action. I do not regard flesh-food as necessary at any stage.
Mahatma Gandhi

Analysis of Contents of vegetables (superiority over non vegetarian diet)

01. Carbohydrates: purely sucrose and glucose in high soluble form, superior to the grains, cereals, pulses and nuts. They do not require much insulin to get metabolized in the body. (Raw vegetables contain Tatoronic acid which prevents the conversion of carbohydrate in to fat).

02. Proteins: equally good as animal proteins (e.g. Soya, Groundnut). Amino acids present are arginine, histadine, lysine, cystine etc.

03. Fats: found in the form of oils and are chief sources of unsaturated fats which are superior to animal fats.

04. Minerals: maintains the acid base balance by hydrogen concentration of body tissues. Helps in complete absorption of vitamins, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. They help the body to eliminate excess of liquid and salt.

05. Vitamins: Vitamin A in the form of carotenes and chlorophyll m the dark green leaves and the reddish pink colors of plants.

Vit B1 – in the form of thiamine – in the pale yellow stem of plants, leaves and pulp of non leafy vegetables.

Vit C – tender tips of leaves and in acid and sub-acid of fruits in the form of’ ascorbic acid.

Vit D- made and stored in the leaves which are exposed to sun rays.

Folic acid and PI – fresh vegetables such as lettuce, parsley, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage etc.

I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Dean Ornish, MD

06. Fibres: acts as mechanical expanders, draw more water in them and aids in the easy expulsion of wastes in the form of stool. Fibre in the form of cellulose helps the elimination of cholesterol. There are 2 types of fibre

Soluble fibre – it does breakdown to a certain extent in digestive tract, forming among byproducts of fatty acids that are absorbed in to the blood stream and appear to play a role in lowering the cholesterol levels. In addition to that, soluble fibre helps Diabetes Mellitus and to keep to maintain low blood glucose levels.

Insoluble fibre – wheat, bran, whole grain, vegetables and fruits. Although insoluble fibre not broken down at all as it passes through the digestive tract, it does have the ability to absorb large quantity of water up to 15 times of own weight, this water adds bulk to fecal matter and helps to move through the digestive tract more quickly.

07. Hormones: prolactin is present in vegetables, helps the secretion of breast milk during feeding.

08. Pectin: Present in apples, brinjal, radishes, pumpkins, and in beetroot absorb the water, devour certain bacteria and eliminate toxins from body.

09. Nitrogen: vegetables supplies nitrogen to human body in the form of nitrates and maintain the nitrogen balance in the kidney.

10. Chlorophyll: it not only does the photosynthesis in plants but also effective in promoting the healing of the wounds, mouth ulcers, pyorrhoea, bad breath and diseases of the mouth.

Vegetarianism

Vegetarian or strict vegetarian: who avoids consuming any animal products ie. meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and perhaps even honey.

Lacto vegetarian – they may eat dairy products

Advantages of vegetarian diet

Leafy vegetables contain an abundance of positive food factors and should be taken as a part of the meal.

Vegetarian diet has been associated with

  • Keeps Lower body weight and reduces the prevalence of obesity
  • Keeps blood pressure in normal levels.
  • Reduces the prevalence of osteoporosis
  • Reduces the risk of CHD (Coronary heart disease)

Major reasons cited for the prevailing vegetarianism among Indians

Health reasons: it reduces the risk of several chronic diseases (There have been a numerous reports of low incidence of chronic Diseases in vegetarian group).

  • Ecological and environmental reasons : requires 3kg to 10 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of meat
  • Animal welfare and cruelty concerns
  • Major religious restrictions.
  • Certain cancers, particularly to prevent bowel cancer.
  • Lower rate of mortality and more life span.

Conclusion

Well planned vegetarian diets are more varied and have higher level of adequacy than the diets of many omnivores.

Vegetarian diet can restrict the growth of the children, although effect is usually small and temporary.

Dietary deficiency of Vit B12 is uncommon, even though animal foods are important dietary sources of riboflavin, calcium and zinc, but there is no persuasive evidence of inadequate status for these nutrients in veg or vegans.

Adopting a more vegetarian diet and lifestyle will produce more health benefits.

We stopped eating meat many years ago. During the course of a Sunday lunch we happened to look out of the kitchen window at our young lambs playing happily in the fields. Glancing down at our plates, we suddenly realized that we were eating the leg of an animal who had until recently been playing in a field herself. We looked at each other and said, “Wait a minute, we love these sheep–they’re such gentle creatures. So why are we eating them?” It was the last time we ever did.
–Linda and Paul McCartney (musicians)

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