Celebrate National Vegetarian Week 2018
It’s National Vegetarian Week; people across the UK are celebrating the benefits of choosing a vegetarian diet and sharing the foods, stories and traditions that impact the way we eat.
Whether you’re considering a lifestyle change, already been eating a vegetarian diet for years, or are a happy meat eater looking for healthy eating ideas, Vegetarian Week offers an opportunity to reflect on the foods we eat everyday.
The Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarians don’t eat any meat, poultry, fish or game, including shellfish and game, and also avoid animal by-products like gelatine.
Instead, they get most of their protein, vitamins and nutrients from fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses, nuts, grains, dairy products and eggs.
Some people who are used to eating meat worry that a vegetarian diet won’t have enough protein in it, but it’s not the case. Most vegetarians get all the protein they need from the likes of cereal, eggs, pulses, beans, nuts, soya products like tofu and soy milk, and meat substitutes like Quorn.
Iron and calcium are also easy to find in a vegetarian diet, through pulses, wholegrains, dried fruit, dark leafy-green vegetables, fortified milk, and cereals. Dairy products like cheese, butter, yoghurt and milk are great sources of both protein and calcium, and healthy when eaten in moderation.
Vegetarian diets tend to include more than the minimum recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, meaning that they take in vital vitamins and minerals, and great amounts of fibre.
Just like any other diet, a vegetarian diet needs to be balanced and not contain too much fatty food or sugar.
Vegetarian Health Benefits
There has been a vast amount of research done over the years into the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, and the long term effects of being vegetarian.
- Cholesterol: Vegetarians often eat less saturated fat (found in sausages, cakes, pies, and dairy) than meat eaters, and replace meat with foods like soya and nuts, which are good at keeping cholesterol at bay.
- Heart Disease: Lower cholesterol levels mean less risk of heart disease
- Blood Pressure: Blood pressure is often lower among vegetarians than meat eaters, helping reduce the chance of heart disease and stroke
- Cancer: Vegetarian diets are often associated with a reduced risk of cancer, particularly stomach, colon and bowel cancers
- Stroke: Research suggests that people who eat more than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day not only have a lower risk of heart disease and some cancers, but are less likely to have strokes too
- Weight: On average, vegetarians have a lower BMI than meat eaters, and are less likely to be overweight
- Diabetes: Lower cholesterol diets, being a healthy weight, having good blood sugar levels and eating low GI carbohydrate foods can all help to avoid or manage type 2 diabetes
Find out more about vegetarian health and nutrition on the Vegetarian Society website.
National Vegetarian Week
This year, the aim of National Vegetarian Week is to get people to share tasty vegetarian food with friends and family, in order to show how delicious, fresh, healthy and environmentally friendly it can be.
To participate, you could host a meal for friends, ask people to share their favourite vegetarian recipes with you, try eating vegetarian options in a restaurant, or share photos of your food with friends on social media.
You can take part and find recipes on the National Vegetarian Week website.
Have you ever been tempted to go vegetarian?
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Click below to submit your query online.
* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
Latest posts by Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor (see all)
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!