1. Heart disease is the number one cause of premature death in the U.S., but vegetarians are 24% less likely to die of heart disease than meat-eaters. As many as four out of five Americans suffering from cardiovascular disease may reverse their symptoms when adopting a vegetarian diet.
2. Non-meat-eaters also have a lower average BMI than carnivores, according to the American Dietetic Association. In a study with more than 37,000 adults, vegans had the lowest BMIs and meat-eaters had the highest, with vegetarians landing somewhere in the middle.
3. Here’s an interesting one: when overweight people try to slim down using a vegan or vegetarian diet, they lose more weight than those who consume meat, even when the diet doesn’t emphasize calorie restriction.
4. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PRCM), vegetarians and vegans have much lower blood pressure – even after just two weeks of being on a non-meat diet.
5. Following a vegetarian or vegan diet can also help prevent and manage diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
6. If you are somebody who suffers from asthma, a vegan or vegetarian diet could be the perfect thing for you. In 1985, a Swedish study found that after a year of following such a diet, people with asthma experienced fewer asthma attacks and needed less medication.
7. It gets better: going vegetarian or vegan may also help prevent cancer. A 10-year study of nearly 70,000 Seventh Day Adventists, whose religion encourages them to follow a well-balanced vegetarian diet, found that such a diet led to an a decreased risk for all cancer types.
8. On the topic of disease, the link between the consumption of meat and various diseases is well documented and includes osteoporosis and kidney stones.
9. Worldwide livestock farming produces 18 percent of the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2006 report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), while the entire transportation sector produces only 13 percent. To quote Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of the report: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”
10. Did you know that it takes over 1,700 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, while about 50 gallons is enough to produce one pound of apples. That’s a huge waste of water.
Happy Vegetarian Awareness Month!