International Journal of Medicine and Health Development

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Vegetarianism- Food as Medicine and A way of Life

Chima Oji


This short review highlights the beneficial and adverse effects of vegetarian diets in various medical conditions, and the relationships between vegetarian diets and morality. It is becoming increasingly important to recognize that both values and scientific issues come into play in evaluating data on diet. An inverse association has been reported between nut, fruit, vegetable and fibre consumption, and the risk of coronary heart disease. An inverse association between fruit and vegetable consumption and stroke has been suggested. There is an inverse association between dietary fibre intake and incidence of colon and breast cancer as well as prevalence of colonic diverticula and gallstones. There are few adverse effects, mainly increased intestinal gas production and a small risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. The link between food and mood has been established by hundreds of scientific studies. Many of them show that vegetarian diets positively influence depression, anxiety, anger, violence, lethargy, and cravings.

Key words: Vegetarianism, Medical viewpoint, Ethical reasons.

(J College Med: 2003 8(1): 7-11)

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