Vegetarian diets: Good for you, good for the earth!

vegetarian sandwiches Eating a vegetarian diet may reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Plant-based meals are high in fiber and contain beneficial phytochemicals such as beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and folic acid. Of course, vegetarian and vegan diets should be balanced and include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds for adequate nutrition.

In its recently updated position paper, the organization goes on to explain that plant-based diets are also more environmentally friendly than meat-based diets. Raising livestock for consumption is often associated with greater greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution.

If you’re interested in learning more about following a vegetarian or vegan diet, consider scheduling an appointment with a registered dietitian in our Nutrition Services department. He or she can tailor a healthy eating plan that provides the nutrients you need for good health while meeting your desires to avoid animal products.