Spain has a very varied gastronomy. In many of its dishes and recipes, products of plant origin are the protagonists. In fact, the such a popular Mediterranean diet emphasizes foods such as cereals, vegetables and greens.
However, the weight of meat products in our diet continues to be globally very important, with an average consumption, according to Greenpeace, of more than 250 grams per person per day. A quantity much higher than that recommended by the FAO, which indicates that an intake of 20 grams of meat per day is sufficient for humans.
Given these data, many voices that affirm that meat is not necessary to maintain a healthy diet; at least not in such quantities. According to a study by the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN), 2% of the Spanish population does not include any meat in their daily diet, 12% does not consume processed meat and around 1% does not eat meat or fish.
Scientific evidence suggests that one of the main building blocks for good health is a well-balanced diet. This diet includes a great variety of essential nutrients in adequate proportions, something that, in principle, suggests that meat must be present, to a greater or lesser extent.
However, there are also indications that not eating meat can bring interesting benefits to our health. For this reason, more and more consumers are opting to reduce their consumption of meat or stop eating it for a certain time.
For such cases, there is a special meatless diet for a whole month. However, it is allowed to eat fish and animal products, such as eggs, dairy products, honey and others, which makes it sustainable and balanced. But what are these benefits?
Helps to lose weight
Those who aim to lose some weight are good candidates to temporarily stop consuming meat. Research shows that vegetarian and vegan diets are associated with lower body weight than meat-based diets.
The reason is that plant-based diets tend to be higher in fiber and nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes to curb cravings. In this line, a study showed that people who followed a vegan diet for 18 weeks lost an average of four kilos more weight than those who did not.
A healthier heart
The Heart diseases top the ranking of causes of death in Spain. Of the more than 17.5 million deaths as a result of cardiovascular diseases worldwide, more than 120,000 occur in our country. It’s no secret that certain types of meat, including red meat and processed meats, have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and health problems.
And not only that, but research has been developed that shows that Eliminating meat from the diet, even for short periods of time, may also be associated with better heart health. There are studies which show that vegetarians and vegans have a lower risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as other problems that can contribute to heart disease, including diabetes and obesity.
In addition to helping our hearts, following a meatless diet for 30 days can positively affect our cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, and a higher consumption of meat, which contains a considerable amount of saturated fat, is a factor in increasing blood cholesterol.
Follow a plant-based diet with minimal meat consumption can lower your cholesterol levels, thus reducing the possibility of heart disease.
Improves the microbiota
Changing meat products for others of plant origin is also conducive to improving intestinal health, something to take into account, since according to research it is very influential in general well-being. According to a study, the vegan gut profile appears to have more beneficial bacteria that protect against disease: fiber is the main food of the microbiome.
In Spain, around 300,000 people suffer from one of the different types of arthritis, according to the National Arthritis Coordinator (ConArtritis). A study surveyed 217 people with rheumatoid arthritis and showed that 24 percent related the severity of symptoms was influenced by their diet.
Similarly, switching to a vegan diet based on plants rich in anti-inflammatory foods has been repeatedly shown to reduce arthritis symptoms, including chronic pain, swelling and stiffness, in as little as one month.
Prevention of diabetes
That diet influences our general well-being is more than evident. And in fact, almost no one doubts today that eating habits can be the best ally or worst enemy of our health.
In this line, we can highlight that red and processed meats can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, due to its ability to worsen inflammation, cause weight gain, and affect how insulin works. Therefore, avoiding meat consumption for 30 days is a good way to reduce this risk significantly.
Beware of shortcomings
As we pointed out at the beginning, meat is the main basis for obtaining certain nutrients. Therefore, if we choose to spend a season without consuming it, it is important to keep in mind the risk of deficiencies in some of them, such as protein, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. To avoid this, you have to know what natural alternative sources we have, in the case of not wanting to resort to supplements.
In the case of proteins, we can find them in dairy products, eggs, and seafood. We can also choose the Plant-based proteins in soy, lentil, chickpea, rice, or potato products.
For him iron, we can have different legumes, clams, oysters, spinach, tofu, chickpeas, tomatoes, potatoes and cashews, among others. As an alternative source of footballobviously we have the milk and dairy products. We can also find it in foods such as sardines and salmon, green leafy vegetables, fruit juices, nuts and seeds, and legumes.
Another mineral that is essential for the body and comes mainly from animal products is zinc. We can get the daily dose of zinc from shellfish, eggs, dairy, soy products, and nuts. Finally, to alleviate the reduction of vitamin B12, which plays an important role in the production of red blood cells, we have eggs and milk at our disposal.