Experts say eating meat every day isn't necessarily a bad thing — as long as you choose the right types.
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If you're a meat lover, you may cringe at the thought of giving up your favorite dish. While there are certainly benefits of a plant-based diet (which can include animal products but is centered around fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes) you can still eat meat and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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The main things to consider are the types of meat you eat and how much you eat.
"You can eat meat every day and live a healthy lifestyle," says Mia Syn, RD. "Meat is a source of high-quality, complete protein, but you want to be mindful of what type you are consuming and how often."
Of course, you may have other reasons for eating less meat, such as wanting to put less strain on natural resources, protecting the welfare of animals, or saving money. But in terms of nutrition alone, here's what you can expect (both the good and the bad!) when you eat meat every day.
The Benefits of Meat
Meat has nutritional benefits that can help you live a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the main perks you'll get when you eat healthy sources of meat in moderation.
1. It's a Good Source of Lean Protein
Meat is known for being high in satiating protein. Protein plays several important roles in your body. It's involved in the production of muscle, structural tissues, hormones, transport molecules and antibodies, per the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
It also provides you with energy and essential amino acids. Getting your protein from animal products can be beneficial as animal proteins are complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids.
But, not all sources of animal protein are healthy choices. It's important to choose types of meat that provide protein without too many unhealthy nutrients — like saturated fat or sodium. To get your protein from animal sources, Ohio State University recommends looking for leaner, unprocessed sources such as:
- White-meat poultry, like chicken or turkey breasts
- Pork tenderloin
- Lean or extra-lean cuts of beef such as sirloin or round cuts, or ground beef that is at least 93 percent lean
"If you are consuming lean meat and poultry prepared with no or little added sugar, saturated fat and sodium within the portions recommended to meet your nutritional needs, you are likely to experience positive effects like greater satiety, easier weight management and better energy," Syn says.
Protein digests slowly in your stomach, per the American Heart Association (AHA). This helps you feel more full for longer — even if you're not eating more calories.
"A little bit of protein at each meal is going to help you feel more satiated," says Joan Salge Blake, RDN, a nutrition professor at Boston University and host of the nutrition, health and wellness podcast Spot On! "It will help you watch your weight and feel fuller for fewer calories, which is advantageous."
Of course, you can get protein from various sources (including plant-based foods) to serve this purpose, but lean meats can be a great option.
2. It’s a Good Source of Iron
"In addition to providing high-quality protein, meat provides certain key nutrients that are hard to get elsewhere," Syn says. "For example, heme iron found in animal foods is more readily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron found in plant source foods like beans and vegetables."
Meat, poultry and seafood have both heme and non-heme iron, per the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Your body needs iron for growth and development as well as to create hemoglobin and myoglobin, proteins that transport oxygen throughout your muscles.
Too little iron can cause iron-deficiency anemia, with symptoms like weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, gastrointestinal upset and problems with concentration or memory. People with iron deficiency anemia also have a more difficult time fighting off germs and infections, per the NIH.
"A lot of people, especially women, are short on iron in their diet," Dr. Salge Blake says.
3. It’s a Good Source of B Vitamins
Lean meats can help you fit in B vitamins, which support your metabolism and help your body produce energy, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In particular, vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods like lean meats. It is needed to form red blood cells and DNA, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It also plays an important role in forming red blood cells and DNA.
Among vegetarians and vegans, 62 percent of pregnant people, up to nearly 86 percent of children, up to 41 percent of adolescents and up to 90 percent of older adults had vitamin B12 deficiency rates in a February 2013 study in Nutrition Reviews. Vegetarians and vegans should take preventative steps to avoid deficiency, such as regularly taking a B12 supplement.
The Risks of Eating Meat
Of course, regularly eating meat can also have unwanted side effects — especially if you choose unhealthy types. Here's what to watch out for if you're eating meat daily.
1. It Can Be High in Saturated Fat
Certain types of meat have high amounts of saturated fat, which is unhealthy if you eat it in excess, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Too much saturated fat can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease or stroke. It can also cause weight gain — fat contains 9 calories per gram, which is more than double the amount in carbohydrates and protein.
Limit saturated fat to no more than 10 percent of your daily calories, per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That means if you're eating 2,000 calories per day, you should have no more than 200 calories (22 grams) of saturated fat.
To further reduce your heart disease risk, limit saturated fats to less than 7 percent of your daily calories — which would be just 140 calories (16 grams) from saturated fat, per the NLM. To put that in perspective, three slices of cooked bacon contain nearly 5 grams of saturated fat.
2. Red and Processed Meats Are Linked to Disease
Processed meat refers to that which has been treated for preservation or flavor, such as through salting, curing, smoking and fermenting, per the American Cancer Society.
This type of meat is classified as a carcinogen, or something that causes cancer, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization). The agency classifies red meat as a probable carcinogen, or something that probably causes cancer.
Experts have debated this topic and, ultimately, more research is needed, but, it seems as though moderation is the key. People who ate red or processed meat four or more times weekly had a 20 percent higher risk of colon cancer than those who ate it less than twice a week in an April 2019 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
For each daily 25-gram serving of processed meat, equal to about a slice of ham, colon cancer risk increased by 19 percent. For each daily 50-gram serving of red meat, about the size of a hot dog, colon cancer risk increased by 18 percent.
Red meat is also linked with high cholesterol, which in turn can raise your risk for strokes and heart attacks, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Try to limit your red meat to just one to two servings per week — which is 6 ounces or less. If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, should limit it to 3 ounces or less per week. The healthiest types of red meat are lean types of pork, steak and ground meat.
3. It Can Be High in Sodium
Smoked, cured, salted or canned meat — including bacon, cold cuts, ham, sausage and frankfurters — are considered high-sodium foods, per UCSF Health. And while your body only needs ¼ teaspoon of sodium per day, the average American eats 20 times that.
Diets high in sodium are linked to a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of stroke and heart disease, per the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Deli meat sandwiches, poultry and burgers are main sources of sodium in the American diet.
The Daily Value (DV) for sodium is less than 2,300 milligrams per day. As a general guide, 5 percent DV or less of sodium per serving is considered low while 20 percent DV or more is considered high.
Meanwhile, an ideal limit is no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day for most adults, especially those who have high blood pressure, per the AHA. Reducing your sodium intake by just 1,000 milligrams per day can improve blood pressure and heart health.
To put that in perspective, just one link of sweet Italian sausage contains 479 milligrams of sodium — or 20 percent of the DV.
How to Eat Meat Every Day the Healthy Way
In addition to limiting your red meat and processed meat — and watching the sodium levels of the meats you choose — a few simple strategies can help you include meat and poultry as part of a healthy diet, per the Mayo Clinic:
- Look for lean cuts of meat. Opt for round, chuck, sirloin and tenderloin for beef. Choose tenderloin, loin chop and leg for lean pork or lamb.
- Skip the skin. For lean poultry, choose white meat from the breast with no skin. If you like dark meat, remove the skin.
- Double-check percentages. Look for the ground beef with the highest percentage of lean meat (90 percent or higher). Keep in mind that ground poultry can be as high in fat as ground beef because it often includes skin and dark meat, so make sure you choose at least 90 percent lean ground chicken or turkey.
- Watch the labels: Opt for beef that is labeled "Choice" or "Select" instead of "Prime," which is typically higher in fat.
- Trim the fat: In addition to buying lean cuts, cut off any visible or solid fat from meat before cooking it.
The way you cook meat and poultry is also important. Use low-fat cooking methods like broiling, grilling, roasting, sauteing and baking, per the Mayo Clinic.
Because a lot of fat can melt away during cooking, put meat or poultry on a rack in a baking pan when you cook it in the oven so the fat will drip away. Add more flavor with marinades.
What’s a Serving Size?
If you do choose to eat meat, it's best to aim for no more than 3 ounces per meal (about the size of a deck of cards) — and ideally no more than a couple of times a week, per the Mayo Clinic.
Keep in mind that 3 ounces only equals half of a boneless, skinless chicken breast, one skinless chicken leg with thigh or two thin slices of lean roast beef.
You can imagine the size of any of these items to visualize a 3-ounce serving of meat, per the AHA:
- A dollar bill
- A deck of cards
- A checkbook
- A mini pack of tissues
- A box of eight crayons
- An outstretched palm
If you're thinking about cutting back on meat, you certainly don't have to go cold turkey. By going meatless one or two days per week, you'll get benefits from building your meals around beans, lentils, vegetables and whole grains, per the Mayo Clinic.
For instance, the Mediterranean diet limits red meat and focuses on fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats, and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions — even though it doesn't cut out meat entirely.
"Treating red meat more as a condiment rather than the center of the dish is a smart way to consume it," Syn says.
In other words, you might opt for shredded steak over a salad rather than centering dinner around a large steak. Or you might include chicken as just one ingredient in a hearty vegetable soup, rather than treating it as the star of the dish.
Load up on fiber-rich vegetables on your plate, and then use 2 to 3 ounces of meat like lean chicken as a topping for those vegetables.
So, Is It Bad to Eat Meat Every Day?
Both Syn and Dr. Salge Blake agree that it's OK to eat meat every day, as long as you make healthy choices and pair it with plenty of nutritious foods.
How healthy (or unhealthy) eating meat every day is will depend largely on your preparation methods and how much of it you eat.
"If you are consuming too much meat or choosing poor quality options like cured and processed meats such as hot dogs, deli meats, bacon and sausages, then you are likely exceeding your sodium and saturated fat limits for the day," Syn says. "Over time, this can put you at greater risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even certain cancers."
But, if you choose unprocessed, lean meats and stick to the serving size — while still loading up on plenty of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits and legumes — eating meat every day can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
"If we keep the meat lean and to appropriate amounts, and fill up the plate with all the other plant-based foods, it's fine," Dr. Salge Blake says.
Sizzling steaks and juicy burgers are staples in many people's diets. But research has shown that regularly eating red meat and processed meat can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers, especially colorectal cancer.Is it healthy to eat only meat everyday? ›
But experts say that this very restrictive diet can deprive you of essential nutrients that come from plant-based foods, and has the potential to harm your health long-term.Do you need to eat meat every day? ›
"You can eat meat every day and live a healthy lifestyle," says Mia Syn, RD. "Meat is a source of high-quality, complete protein, but you want to be mindful of what type you are consuming and how often."How often do you need to eat meat to get enough B12? ›
It's the nutrient of most concern for people cutting out meat products as it's only found in animal sources. Requirements of vitamin B12 are the same for both women and men at 2.4 micrograms (mcg) a day. Beef and kangaroo provide 2.5mcg per 100g serve, while chicken and turkey provide about 0.6mcg.
Although many humans choose to eat both plants and meat, earning us the dubious title of “omnivore,” we're anatomically herbivorous. The good news is that if you want to eat like our ancestors, you still can: Nuts, vegetables, fruit, and legumes are the basis of a healthy vegan lifestyle.What is the healthiest meat to eat? ›
- Sirloin Steak. Sirloin steak is both lean and flavorful – just 3 ounces packs about 25 grams of filling protein! ...
- Rotisserie Chicken & Turkey. The rotisserie cooking method helps maximize flavor without relying on unhealthy additives. ...
- Chicken Thigh. ...
- Pork Chop. ...
- Canned Fish.
The chicken diet comes with several potentially serious downsides, including the risk of developing nutrient deficiencies and unhealthy eating habits, its overall unsustainability, and an increase in fried food intake.Can a person live on meat alone? ›
If we were to just chow down on steaks on their own, you would lose out on some of the vital nutrients the human body requires to function. Just as people get their nutrients from lots of different foods, you need to add in a few more varieties of meats.What happens to your body when you stop eating meat? ›
"If meat is simply removed and not substituted, the consumer is at risk of iron or B12 deficiency, anemia, and muscle wasting," Levy-Wollins explains.Is it healthier to eat meat or not eat meat? ›
Even reducing meat intake has a protective effect. Research shows that people who eat red meat are at an increased risk of death from heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Processed meats also increase the risk of death from these diseases. And what you don't eat can also harm your health.
Analysis: Numerous studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is one of the most effective for maintaining health. Plant-based diets are healthier than diets where meat is consumed, whether measured by the occurrence of heart disease, cancer, or death.How much meat per day is healthy? ›
Specifically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends consuming no more than an average of 1.8 ounces of red meat, 1.5 ounces of poultry and 0.4 ounces of seafood per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The rest of your protein foods should be from non-meat sources.Do I need a B12 supplement if I eat meat? ›
Even if your diet does include eat meat (a good source of B12), you could still run short on the vitamin if you don't consume enough of it, if you can't absorb it properly or if you take certain medications. And if you're over 60, a low B12 level is relatively common.What are the warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency? ›
- a pale yellow tinge to your skin.
- a sore and red tongue (glossitis)
- mouth ulcers.
- pins and needles (paraesthesia)
- changes in the way that you walk and move around.
- disturbed vision.
These include eggs and dairy products, such as milk and cheese. Vegans have a more limited list of options. Fortified foods, or those with added vitamin B12, are a great source. Natural foods such as nutritional yeast, yeast spreads, certain mushrooms, and some algae also contain vitamin B12.What foods did Jesus eat? ›
What did Jesus eat on a typical day? The short answer: a lot of bread. Bread was a staple in the typical daily diet in the first-century Greco-Roman world, supplemented with limited amounts of local fruits and vegetables, oil, and salt. Bread in first-century Galilee would have been made with wheat or barley flour.What food can humans only eat? ›
human breast milk. The nutritionist said, "the only food that provides all the nutrients that humans need is human milk.What food can you survive on the longest? ›
However, there is no known food that supplies all the needs of human adults on a long-term basis. Since Taylor is determined to follow a one-food diet, then potatoes are probably as good as anything, as they contain a wider range of amino acids, vitamins and minerals than other starchy foods, such as pasta or rice.Is canned tuna healthy? ›
Is canned tuna fish good for you? Yes, canned tuna is a healthful food rich in protein and contains many vitamins and minerals such as B-Complex vitamins, Vitamins A and D as well as iron, selenium and phosphorus. Tuna also contains healthy omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA.What meat can I eat everyday? ›
A healthy balanced diet can include protein from meat, as well as from fish and eggs or non-animal sources such as beans and pulses. Meats such as chicken, pork, lamb and beef are all rich in protein. Red meat provides us with iron, zinc and B vitamins.
In general, red meats (beef, pork and lamb) have more cholesterol and saturated (bad) fat than chicken, fish and vegetable proteins such as beans. Cholesterol and saturated fat can raise your blood cholesterol and make heart disease worse. Chicken and fish have less saturated fat than most red meat.Is it OK to eat eggs every day? ›
For most healthy adults, it's safe to eat 1–2 eggs a day depending on how much other cholesterol is in your diet. If you already have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease, it may be best to eat no more than 4–5 eggs per week.Is it okay to eat fish everyday? ›
But is it safe to eat fish every day? “For most individuals it's fine to eat fish every day,” says Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, in an August 30, 2015 article on Today.com, adding that “it's certainly better to eat fish every day than to eat beef every day.”Is rice a healthy food? ›
Dietary Guidelines suggest that at least half of your grains be from whole grains, and brown rice is considered a whole grain. But even white rice has nutrients. It is considered a good source of folate. In short, YES, rice is a healthy staple that offers many nutrients.What 2 foods can you survive on? ›
- Potatoes. Advertisement. ...
- Human Breast Milk. Advertisement. ...
- Kale. Advertisement. ...
- Trail Mix.
The carnivore diet is high in saturated fats which can cause elevated LDL or bad cholesterol and put you at risk for heart disease. What's more, many different kinds of processed meats like bacon and some lunch meats are loaded with sodium and have been linked to certain types of cancer.What food is highest in magnesium? ›
- Pumpkin seed - kernels: Serving Size 1 oz, 168 mg.
- Almonds, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 80 mg.
- Spinach, boiled: Serving Size ½ cup, 78 mg.
- Cashews, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg.
- Pumpkin seeds in shell: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg.
- Peanuts, oil roasted: Serving Size ¼ cup, 63 mg.
A team of researchers at Loma Linda University in the United States has shown vegetarian men live for an average of 10 years longer than non-vegetarian men — 83 years compared to 73 years. For women, being vegetarian added an extra 6 years to their lives, helping them reach 85 years on average.Does your body detox when you stop eating meat? ›
A meat detox is as simple as it sounds: a diet that does not include meat. In doing so, the body goes into cleanse mode to rid itself of the accumulated toxins.Can you live healthy without meat? ›
Even though meats provide certain nutrients that plants don't, eating meat isn't necessary for your health or survival. With appropriate planning and supplements, plant-based diets can provide the nutrients your body needs.
- Reducing your meat intake is better for animals. ...
- Reducing your meat intake is better for the environment. ...
- Reducing your meat intake is better for your health. ...
- It's never been easier to reduce your meat consumption.
If you avoid eating meat for a month, you should notice a decrease in your overall inflammatory markers. This happens due to the anti-inflammatory properties of plant-based foods that you consume instead of meat (5). They are rich in fiber and antioxidants and low in toxins and saturated fats.What is it called when you don't eat red meat but eat chicken and fish? ›
A pollotarian diet is a type of semi-vegetarianism in which chicken is allowed, but red meat and pork are not. Some pollotarians may also include eggs and dairy in their diet. Those who eat fish and seafood are considered pesce-pollotarians.How can I get protein without eating meat? ›
- Pulses. Pulses are an inexpensive protein choice, are high in fibre and a source of iron. ...
- Soya beans. ...
- Quinoa. ...
- Nuts. ...
- Seeds. ...
- Cereals and grains. ...
- Quorn™ ...
Vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic disease.Are vegans happier than meat eaters? ›
Vegans report 7% higher happiness ratings than meat-eaters. Interestingly, we found that happier individuals consider themselves more likely to turn vegan in the future.What meat is not processed? ›
Along with cold cuts, other processed meats include bacon, salami, bologna, hot dogs and sausages. Fresh chicken, turkey, beef, pork and fish that have not been modified are considered unprocessed meats.Are eggs considered meat? ›
The bottom line: Eggs are not meat, but they do have a similar level of protein.What does eating too much meat cause? ›
You could increase your risk of diseases like certain cancers and cardiovascular illness. Studies have consistently linked higher consumption of red and processed meat to increased risk of certain cancers, as well as cardiovascular disease.What vitamins should I take if I don't eat meat? ›
- Vitamin B12. Foods often touted to be rich in vitamin B12 include unwashed organic produce, mushrooms grown in B12-rich soils, nori, spirulina, chlorella, and nutritional yeast. ...
- Vitamin D. ...
- Long-chain omega-3s. ...
- Iron. ...
- Calcium. ...
- Zinc. ...
- low amount of potassium in the blood.
- Leber's hereditary optic atrophy.
- inflammation of the stomach called atrophic gastritis.
- past history of complete removal of stomach.
It's true that the chances of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency is pretty low for most people who consume a balanced diet containing animal products (such as meat, dairy or eggs). However, you could still develop a deficiency if you are not able to absorb the vitamin B12 from foods that you eat.What Vitamin Are you lacking when you feel dizzy? ›
Low Vitamin B12 Levels Can Cause Dizziness
Ask your doctor about having a simple blood test to check your B12 levels if you're having dizzy spells. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Fruits like apples, bananas, blueberries and oranges are some fruits that are high in vitamin B12.What are the 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency? ›
- Not sleeping well.
- Bone pain or achiness.
- Depression or feelings of sadness.
- Hair loss.
- Muscle weakness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Getting sick more easily.
A normal human needs about 2.5 mcg of B12 a day. To get that much you need to eat 100 g of steak, or 5 g of fried liver, or 1000 g of chicken breast. For those who prefer dairy to meat. The same amount of B12 is in 4 eggs, 600 ml of milk, or 250 g of cheddar cheese.Is one egg a day enough B12? ›
Eggs are one of the best sources of vitamin B12, said Harvard Medical School. A single medium egg contains 0.4mcg of vitamin B12. You should eat four eggs every day to make up your total recommended amount of B12. Most people that eat meat, fish and dairy products should be able to get enough vitamin B12 in their diet.What meat has the most B12? ›
Animal liver and kidneys
Organ meats are some of the most nutrient-packed foods. Liver and kidneys, especially from lamb, are rich in vitamin B12. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of lamb liver provides an incredible 3,571% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin B12 ( 1 ).
Are you deficient in vitamin B12 if you don't eat meat?
Vitamin B12 Deficiency—the Meat-eaters’ Last Stand
I don't eat meat or dairy. Should I take a vitamin B12 supplement?
Specifically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends consuming no more than an average of 1.8 ounces of red meat, 1.5 ounces of poultry and 0.4 ounces of seafood per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The rest of your protein foods should be from non-meat sources.
Dietary goal. If you eat red meat, limit consumption to no more than about three portions per week. Three portions is equivalent to about 350–500g (about 12–18oz) cooked weight. Consume very little, if any, processed meat.How many days a week should you have meat? ›
The Cancer Council advises that meat eaters should limit red meat to three or four times a week (no more than 700g raw weight per week) and choose fish, chicken and legumes on other days. Processed meats should be cut out or minimised. Then, of course, there's our heart health.Is Vegetarian better than eating meat? ›
The health factor
A plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. And people who don't eat meat — vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than nonvegetarians do.
Along with cold cuts, other processed meats include bacon, salami, bologna, hot dogs and sausages. Fresh chicken, turkey, beef, pork and fish that have not been modified are considered unprocessed meats.Are eggs considered meat? ›
The bottom line: Eggs are not meat, but they do have a similar level of protein.How often should you eat eggs? ›
The American Heart Association recommends up to one egg a day for most people, fewer for people with high blood cholesterol, especially those with diabetes or who are at risk for heart failure, and up to two eggs a day for older people with normal cholesterol levels and who eat a healthy diet.Is it okay to eat chicken everyday? ›
Eating chicken every day is not bad, but you need to be cautious while choosing the right one and cooking it right too. Chicken may cause food poisoning because of salmonella, a bacterium found in poultry chicken that can cause food-borne illnesses.How much meat per week is unhealthy? ›
Based on current evidence, eating unprocessed red meat should be limited to less than 350g per week. There is currently no recommended intake for unprocessed poultry. Between 1-3 meals which include unprocessed red meat can be included per week, as part of a heart healthy eating pattern.What happens to your body when you stop eating meat? ›
"If meat is simply removed and not substituted, the consumer is at risk of iron or B12 deficiency, anemia, and muscle wasting," Levy-Wollins explains.Is it good to have no meat days? ›
Eating no meat one day a week is not only about subtracting from your diet, but adding to it. Eating more whole grains, beans and lentils and vegetables on your meatless day offers many health benefits.
Analysis: Numerous studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is one of the most effective for maintaining health. Plant-based diets are healthier than diets where meat is consumed, whether measured by the occurrence of heart disease, cancer, or death.