This information is from Dr. William Sears, one of the nation’s leading pediatricians, on the health benefits of a vegetarian diet:
Are vegetarians really healthier in the long-run?
Absolutely, positively, yes! Even though nutritionists seem to disagree on many topics, all agree that plant-eaters and fish-eaters tend to live longer and healthier lives than do animal eaters. In every way, the brocolli-munchers tend to be healthier than the beef-eaters:
Vegetarians have a lower incidence of cancer, especially colon, stomach, mouth, esophagus, lung, prostate, bladder, and breast cancers. The protection against intestinal cancers is probably due to the fiber in a plant-based diet.
In fact, vegetarians have a lower incidence of nearly all intestinal diseases and discomforts, especially constipation and diverticulosis. The phytonutrients in plant foods, especially antioxidants, flavanoids, and carotenoids, may also contribute to protection against cancer.
Plant food is better for your heart, since it is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and high in fiber. Vegetarians have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, namely heart attacks and stroke.
A study of 25,000 Seventh-Day Adventists showed that these vegetarians had one-third the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than a comparable meat-eating population.
Another study showed that death from cardiovascular disease was fifty percent less in vegetarians. These statistics may be the result of more than just diet; vegetarians tend to have healthier overall lifestyles.
Plant eaters are much less likely to get diabetes than animal eaters.
Vegetarians tend to see better.
An eye disease called macular degeneration, which is deterioration of the retina leading to blindness, occurs less frequently in vegetarians.
Vegetarians tend to be leaner than meat eaters, even those who skin their chicken and trim the fat off their steak; and, in general, leaner persons tend to be healthier. Being lean does not mean being skinny. It means having a low percentage of body fat. Muscular weight-lifters tend to be lean, though no one would call them skinny. You don’t have to “beef up” at the dinner table to make muscle.
Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines recommend eating more vegetables and grains and less meat, despite pressure from the politically-connected meat industry to promote meat.