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Studies reveal what will happen if you stop eating meat

Studies reveal what will happen if you stop eating meat Photo: How giving up eating meat will affect you (freepik.com)

It's no secret that a well-balanced plant-based diet has numerous health benefits. After all, who can argue that eating more fruits and vegetables is a smart choice?This article explains what happens if you completely exclude meat from your diet.

In the material, data from the Nutrition Journal, Nutrients, and Nutrition studies were used.

What happens if you give up meat

While a plant-based diet can help you sleep better, improve heart health, and strengthen the microbiome, it's also possible that you may feel less energetic and be deprived of some essential nutrients. If you are considering completely excluding meat, poultry, and fish from your diet, read about how your body will likely react.

Your energy

On the one hand, transitioning to a nutritious, vegetable-rich diet can help you feel more energetic as you replace processed animal products, such as bacon and meat delicacies, with whole foods like nuts and seeds.

However, there is one problem. Removing animal-derived products from your plate also means losing certain nutrients. Take, for example, iron. While this essential nutrient is present in plant-based foods like spinach and soybeans in the form of non-heme iron, it is more bioavailable when it comes from animals (both heme and non-heme iron), according to the data from the National Library of Medicine in the USA.

This is why it's crucial to include an adequate amount of iron in your diet. Its primary function is transporting oxygen throughout the body, allowing your cells to produce energy.

"Low iron can lead to chronic fatigue, hair loss, dizziness, weakness, headaches, pale skin, and fast heartbeat, amongst other symptoms," says Maria Pena, MD, assistant professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at the Icahn School of Medicine.

Your gut health

If you feel that nowadays, gut health rules the world of health, you're not mistaken.

According to an article in Nutrients published in July 2019, the composition of the gut microbiome matters because bacteria residing in the colon play a crucial role in your health.

Scientists claim that meat, especially red and processed meat, may contribute to intestinal inflammation, which, in turn, alters beneficial bacteria and may lead to digestive problems such as constipation and bloating.

Consuming vegetables has the opposite effect. Vegetarian diets (as well as Mediterranean-style diets) have been found to positively alter the gut microbiome, as suggested by research published in September 2018.

Researchers speculate that by excluding meat and fish from your diet, you're likely to increase the consumption of anti-inflammatory plant products, many of which contain gut-friendly prebiotics and probiotics.

Your sleep and mood

Consuming a large quantity of plants can improve well-being. The high content of isoflavones in a plant-rich diet, particularly in soybeans, may be responsible for improving sleep quality.

Isoflavones are plant compounds primarily found in soybeans, and according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal in December 2015, individuals adhering to a diet rich in isoflavones improved the quality of their sleep and even reduced symptoms of depression.

Filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, in addition to soy, can also enhance your mood. Several potential mechanisms support this connection, but one of them is related to the fact that diets primarily consisting of meat, poultry, and fish may contain a high amount of arachidonic acid, an inflammatory omega-6 polyunsaturated fat.

Earlier, it became known that flaxseed may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.