Are vegetarians happier?

Sunday 18 September 2011 16:16

A new survey suggests that vegetarians are happier, but how many vegetarians are there, and what are the best vegetarian restaurants?

A recently released study in the Nutrition Journal found that vegetarians have lower instances of depression, anxiety and other negative moods. It was thought that carnivores would be less prone to depression as they consume EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids found in fish which play a key role in brain activity and are thought to contribute to both physical and mental health. However the study found that vegetarians scored lower on a test for depression and generally had better moods than meat eaters in the same demographic, therefore suggesting that the absence of omega 3 oils does not negatively impact on moods. The research was carried out amongst a group of Seventh-day Adventists in America where the community which is divided about 4:5 vegetarian to carnivore, the group having been chosen as it was easier to monitor the effects of external influences. The study does note that generalizations should not be made that omega 3 oils from fatty fish are not beneficial to your mood.  

Though it is difficult to measure the number of vegetarians throughout the world, The Vegetarian Times magazine estimated that roughly 2.8 percent of Americans consider themselves vegetarian, a 2006 Survey by Mintel estimated that 6 percent of the UK population were vegetarian, figures from the European Vegetarian Union state that less than 2 percent of France is vegetarian, 4.3 percent of people in The Netherlands, 2 percent of Norway and 1.5 percent of Denmark.  The European Vegetarian Union estimates that Switzerland contains the largest percentage of vegetarians in Europe at 9 percent, and at 0.3 percent Portugal is estimated to have the fewest.  

The number of vegetarian restaurants or restaurants that offer vegetarian alternatives is increasing; even Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, considered the number 1 restaurant in the world, offers vegetarian choices. Vegsoc last year voted the David Bann restaurant in Edinburgh as the best UK vegetarian restaurant, while considers Le Grenier de Notre Dame the best in France, Artemesia the best in Spain and Oriente Chiado the place to eat in Portugal. and the European Vegetarian Union provide a comprehensive list of vegetarian and vegan restaurants throughout the world.

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