Flexitarian diet, also called a semi-vegetarian diet is an increasingly popular plant-based diet that emphasises on eating plant-based foods and allows for occasional meat consumption in moderate amounts. There are many reasons why people are adopting a flexitarian diet, these include religious restrictions, health consciousness, weight management and issues relating to the animal welfare or animal rights.
1. Aids weight loss
A research study found that overweight adults who were given five different plant-based diets such as vegan, vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian and omnivorous diet showed a significant improvement in weight loss.
2. Controls blood pressure levels
Flexitarian diet can help stabilise your blood pressure levels. A 2020 study published in The British Journal of Nutrition pointed out that following a flexitarian diet lowered blood pressure levels and BMI. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
3. Reduces diabetes risk
A study showed that post-menopausal women who were following a semi-vegetarian diet for long-term had significantly lower glucose levels and insulin levels . Another 2009 study published in Diabetes Care showed that the risk of type 2 diabetes was lower in semi-vegetarians than non-vegetarians.
4. May manage cancer
Increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds have been shown to prevent cancer. A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine showed that a 7-year study on colon cancer cases in 78,000 people found that semi-vegetarians were 8 per cent less likely to get colon cancer compared to non-vegetarians.
5. Treats inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) A study reported that a semi-vegetarian diet was effective in preventing relapse of symptoms in patients with IBS . Another research study concluded that increasing the intake of dietary fibre through a semi-vegetarian diet could be used as a supportive treatment for patients with Crohn’s disease .