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Healthy Lifestyle - The Vegetarian Way

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We are, or turn vegetarians for various reasons, which might include religious convictions, health, concern over animal welfare or use of antibiotics and hormones today in development of livestock. Nevertheless, several studies conducted in various parts of the world have proved that a vegetarian diet is indeed healthier and can reduce risk of developing several chronic illnesses.

Vegetarians consume less saturated fatty acids and cholesterol as compared to meat consumers and their diet allows them to absorb more vitamin C and E, dietary fibre, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, carotenoids and flavonoids. The result is that vegetarians have a lower level of bad cholesterol (aka LDL), blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) and all three are associated with longevity and reduced risk of many chronic illnesses.

It has been reported in several studies that vegetarian diet reduces risk of developing diabetes. A research conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that a predominantly plant based diet can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Vegetarians also have lower risk of getting cardiac arrest. Dietary fibre which is only found in plant sources are digested slowly and help keep blood sugar levels steady. As a vegetarian diet had more dietary fibre, it helps reduce cholesterol levels. It has also been found that meat consumption has a positive correlation with ischemic heart disease mortality. Meat consumers generally have lower intake of dietary fibre as compared to vegetarians.

Another great replacement for meat are nuts. Nuts are excellent plant sources for proteins. Apart from proteins they also have a low glycemic index and contain various antioxidants, fibre, minerals and healthy fatty acids. Nuts also have a high calorie and fat content and can satisfy the appetite well.

Walnuts can replace omega-3-fatty acids which humans commonly derive from fish. It is a rich source of Omega-3-fatty acids and has many health benefits. One study suggests that omega-3s from walnuts and fish both work to lower heart disease risk, but by different actions.

When it comes to cancer, there are hundreds of studies that prove that consuming lots of fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of developing cancer. Stopping the consumption of red meat (whether or not you want to become a vegetarian) can eliminate the risk factor for developing colon cancer. Vegetarians have lower levels of potentially carcinogens in their colon.

In a study conducted by BM. Margetts (at Queen Elizabeth II medical centre, Australia), which was a controlled experiment, it was concluded that a vegetarian diet can lower systolic blood pressure in untreated subjects with mild hypertension. Another study by Bonnie L Beezhold, has a very interesting hypothesis to prove. The study concluded that Vegetarian diets are associated with healthy mood states or vegetarians are happier as compared to meat consumers. Their study proved that vegetarians reported significantly less negative emotions as compared to omnivores.

Need we say more? When you are a vegetarian, you are healthier and happier.

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