By Abigail Carroll. Vegetarian Lifestyle. At Friday, May 03rd 2019, 20:54:33 PM.
The earliest records of vegetarianism come from the sixth century B.C.E., in India, Greece and the Greek civilization in Southern Italy, and it stemmed from a desire not to harm animals. Early traces of vegetarianism in Europe disappeared with the introduction of Christianity to the Roman Empire. Many orders of monks in medieval Europe either banned or limited meat consumption as a gesture of personal sacrifice or abstinence, but they ate fish. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, vegetarianism reappeared in Western society. As research continues to support the benefits of a vegetarian diet, more people could become vegetarian in the future.
Approximately six to eight million adults in the United States eat no meat, fish, or poultry, according to a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit organization that disseminates information about vegetarianism. Several million more have eliminated red meat but still eat chicken or fish. About two million have become vegans, forgoing not only animal flesh but also animal-based products such as milk, cheese, eggs, and gelatin.
Many people make the switch to a vegetarian diet because of the potential health benefits. Vegetarian eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes including lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. Also, vegetarians tend to consume a lower proportion of calories from fat and fewer overall calories, and more fiber, potassium and vitamin C than non-vegetarians. These characteristics, plus lifestyle factors, may contribute to the health benefits among vegetarians. A healthy eating pattern is essential in order to obtain the health benefits of becoming a vegetarian.