We’ve all heard of the phrase “I will eat healthy starting Monday.” It’s the staple of many college students’ efforts to lose the freshman fifteen or start fresh after a weekend full of pizza, burritos, and ice-cream (yes, I too have jumped on the Gannon’s bandwagon). Monday is the day we get back on track, and shying away from eating meat might be the perfect way to facilitate this. If you eat on campus, you’ve most likely heard of the Meatless Monday initiative, which encourages you to substitute other foods in the place of meat. Here are a few healthy reasons why you might want to think about going meatless on this one day during the week:
- Reduce heart disease and stroke.
Many meats, especially red meats, are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, the culprits for coronary heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure. Reducing the consumption of these fats and replacing them with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help protect you against these diseases. Studies have shown that each serving of fruits and vegetables are associated with a 4% decline in heart disease, and a diet of 2.5 or more servings of whole grain per day is associated with a 21% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Limit the risk of cancer.
Evidence suggests that red and processed meat consumption may increase the risk of cancers, such as colorectal, esophagus, lung, pancreas, stomach, and prostate cancer. However, evidence also shows that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of several types of cancers, including mouth, larynx, esophagus, and stomach.
- Live Longer.
I know it may seem like that bacon cheeseburger isn’t doing any damage now, but it may impact your health in the long run. Diets that are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and limited amounts of red meats can increase longevity. Let’s prevent these diseases by eating a well-balanced diet, and not let that cheeseburger shorten our lives!
I am not saying to cut out meat altogether, but perhaps you can use this one day a week to jumpstart your healthy diet and improve your health in the long-term. Hopefully now you’ll think twice about going for that bacon and sausage sandwich Monday morning, and grab a healthy smoothie instead.
Source cited: http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/why-meatless/