What do NBA-legend Bill Walton, tennis marvel Venus Williams, the Falcon's Tony Gonzales and the Maple Leaf's Michael Zigomanis all have in common? These super-athletes are all vegetarians! Turns out you can provide powerful fuel for the body without eating meat.
For muscle-building protein, combine foods that deliver the building blocks (amino acids), like nuts or brown rice and beans. And carbo-fuel from whole grains and fiber is slow to absorb, keeping glucose levels more stable.
A six-year study of more than 70,000 men and women found vegetarians to be healthier than meat eaters; they live longer and lower their chance of disability and dying from heart disease. And that's true for four types of vegetarians.
1) Vegans: They eat no eggs, dairy, fish or meat.
2) Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: They DO eat eggs and dairy, but say no to fish and meat.
3) Pesco-vegetarians: They eat fish, but not meat.
4) Semi-vegetarians: They eat fish or meat once a week or less.
Why are these folks coming out on top? Well, they eat a lot more fiber (that lowers lousy cholesterol), far less saturated fat (ditto) and less added sugar. They also avoid L-carnitine, which comes from eating red meat. In your intestines it's converted into a substance that messes up your arteries more than saturated fat does! So if you want to live longer and improve your health, there's a simple trick: Pick a number between 1 and 4.
© King Features Syndicate