Here at XTEND5 we understand that much grace and power resides in the choices we make around diet, movement, and overall wellness. We also understand that there can be many benefits to these choices. Today we want to look at the benefits of eating a vegetarian diet.
There are various adaptations to the vegetarian diet, but the fundamental principles are a diet without meat, poultry or fish, or foods that contain any of these things. From a nutrients perspective, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) notes that a vegetarian lifestyle is nutritionally adequate with good planning. They also note that vegetarianism could provide health benefits in preventing and treating certain diseases.1
Several conversations continue to unfold in the dietetic and nutrition world when it comes to vegetarians consuming enough vital nutrients. However, the ADA, established in 1988, with a follow-up paper in 2009, that it is a safe and appropriate diet whatever stage you are in the life cycle. They note that the vegetarian diet is “appropriate for all life cycle stages, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”2
One nutrient concern with the vegetarian diet is that people could end up being deficient in Vitamin B12, which is found in substantial quantities only in animal products.3 This water-soluble vitamin is vital for cell function, replication, and the production of red blood cells. A deficiency in B12 can lead to conditions such as anemia.4
The vegetarian diet has the potential to increase one’s attention to overall wellness with a number of studies reporting the health benefits from a vegetarian lifestyle and its influence on the prevention of disease. These include lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease,5 potentially helping with weight loss,6 can help protect against malignant cells forming,7 and in general have a positive effect on cholesterol in the body.8
One huge benefit emerging from some studies is the effects of plant-based diets on gut microbiome because, as you know, gut health is of great interest to us at XTEND5. Research is showing the relationship between the gut microbiome (good bacteria) and the gut-brain connection,9 and studies are increasingly reporting that a vegetarian or purely plant-based diet (veganism) can create a diverse ecosystem of beneficial bacteria to support overall health.10
Much of the literature around the type of gut microbiome created by a plant-based diet goes into detail about what specific gut microbiome species is formed. The biological process is quite fascinating. The result of a high fiber intake inspires a certain gut microbiome species to grow, which then ferments the fiber, resulting in short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s). SCFA’s are noted to improve immunity, support the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, and regulate critical functions of the intestine.11
Fun fact: Did you know that in the gut wall resides 70% of the cells that make up our immune system!? That’s why good gut microbiome and overall gut health are critical for a robust immune system and overall wellness.12
When it comes to a vegetarian diet, it is worth noting that the vegetables’ quality is essential as much as anything. Organic plant produce is recommended no matter what your diet.13 Nobody needs to be ingesting pesticides and other nasties. Vegetables are full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber. They are diverse, accessible, and can be used in a variety of dishes.
In conclusion, there are a myriad of benefits to the vegetarian diet, and its influence on gut health is just one. XTEND5 products are all-natural and plant-based and, therefore, suitable for those choosing a vegetarian diet. Whether you have been a vegetarian for years or are looking to improve some areas of your health by choosing a vegetarian diet, there are benefits to be discovered that influence overall wellness and our all-important gut health.
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