Only 6% of Brits currently follow a vegetarian diet, with 3% being vegan.
These figures are even lower in the male population, with women being twice as likely to follow a plant-based diet compared to men, with reasons being tied to societal concepts of masculinity and men’s fears about losing their strength.
However, there are many surprising health benefits of going plant-based, which can help improve your mood, your appearance, and even your sex life!
Dr Earim Chaudry, MD of men’s health platform Manual has listed some of the top health benefits of a plant-based diet.
1. Improve Your Appearance
Switching to a vegetarian diet can be a great option for those looking to lose weight or just want a healthier lifestyle. Red meats are often high in fats and cholesterol, which can cause weight gain.
A vegetarian diet can also do wonders for your skin as fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which can prevent ageing. Skin imperfections can also be reduced with a plant-based diet as red meats and dairy can contribute to acne.
2. Better Sex Life
A recent study found that 84% of vegetarians have a better sex life compared to meat-eaters, with results determining that dietary preference was connected with sexual frequency.
Plant-based diets can decrease blood pressures and reduce heart disease, which can mean better stamina and endurance in the bedroom!
3. Improve Your Fitness
Many athletes such as Lionel Messi, Lewis Hamilton and Novak Djokovic have cited a plant-based diet to help with their endurance.
Those following this diet have reported quicker recovery time, more energy and better overall performance.
4. Healthier Heart
Diets high in red meats can increase your risk of heart disease by up to 18%, especially when eating a high quantity of processed meats such as bacon and sausages.
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which is a form of vitamin A. These work as antioxidants in your body, helping to reduce the buildup of plaque from cholesterol and other substances in the arteries, leading to a healthier heart.
5. Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer for men in the UK, according to the NHS.
A seven-year study of 26,000 men followed the type of diet they ate and discovered how many of them developed prostate cancer. The results showed that men who were identified as following a vegan diet had a 35% reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Food to eat on a plant-based diet
A plant-based diet should include a mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, healthy fats and proteins.
Some foods to eat are:
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, melons, pears, peaches
- Vegetables: Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots
- Grains: Quinoa, barley, buckwheat, rice, oats
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts
- Seeds: Flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, olive oil, avocados
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