Being on a vegan diet means completely cutting out certain foods. In particular, animals and anything that comes from them.
This means they don’t eat any gelatine, eggs, honey, or dairy. Furthermore, they tend to avoid other products that have used animals in one shape or another. This includes soaps, beauty products, clothes, and more.
Vegan diets are packed full with a ton of incredibly healthy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals which work to keep your body healthy. Fundamentally, it is high in nutrients, and low in saturated fat.
Having said that, switching from a more regular to a vegan diet can come with some trepidation. If it’s not done properly, you could end up causing more health risks that good. Since you’re not eating meats or any meat-related products, you need to source nutrients, like protein, from other plant-based foods.
Therefore, planning and effectively preparing food is paramount to maintain a healthy vegan diet. It has a huge variety of proven health benefits. If you’re interested to learn how it could boost your overall health, take a look below.
The Top Health Benefits
Reduced Cancer Risk
Various studies have revealed that people who eat meat have a higher chance of developing prostate and colorectal cancer.
But since vegan diets are full of healthy foods, such a fruits, legumes, and vegetables, the body is given more nutrients to help protect you from a range of cancers.
For most people, their most regular and easiest sources of calcium come from cheese and milk. It’s a vital nutrient that’s heavily involved in maintaining strong teeth and bones. Being vegan means excluding everything that comes from animals, including cheese and milk.
Instead, however, vegans can increase their calcium content by eating more black-eyed peas, kale, figs, and spinach.
Healthy bones also used magnesium, potassium, and vitamins D and K. As a vegan, you could get these from the nature of the diet alone, but you could also get more sun exposure too.
You may also be surprised to discover that the calcium absorption rate among vegans is better. As is the metabolism of bones, which is where new bone tissue is developed!
No Animal Fats
Fats that come from animal sourced have been heavily associated with a staggering variety of health conditions. Some of the main ones include rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and hypertension. Furthermore, studies tell us that animals fats are responsible for up to 15% of the cholesterol issues that people experience in the U.S.
A vegan diet lets you avoid these animal fats and drastically reduce your chances of developing any of the linked conditions. Vegans stick with plant-based fats and oils that provide them with the essential fatty acids for health – just without the higher cholesterol levels.
Numerous studies have highlighted how eating processed and excessive red meats can increase the risk of dying earlier on. Therefore, vegans are in a better position to extend their life expectancy by simply cutting out all meat from their diet.
Due to the fact that when you’re on a vegan diet, you typically eat less calories compared to someone on a more regular diet. As a result, you are able to healthily lower your body mass index and avoid obesity.
Having a lower body mass index has been associated with lower levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) as well as healthier blood pressure. Even people who are vegetarian and drink milk from animals still show a significantly higher level of LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
When you have a lower LDL cholesterol level, you also decrease your chances of suffering from heart disease and strokes.
Preventing Chronic Diseases
Maintaining a vegan diet has been shown to effectively lower your risk of getting chronic diseases that would otherwise be more likely to manifest due to genetics.
This is because a wholesome plant-based diet is brimming with bioactive compounds. These work effectively to counteract your genes causing chronic illnesses. One of the biggest finding came when researchers discovered that the high level of antioxidants in vegan diets were effective at fighting free radical cell damage.
This usually leads to chronic diseases and extreme inflammation. Furthermore, there are various other compounds in plant-based diets that reduce the genetic influence over the cause of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Some of the other health benefits of veganism include the following:
- Prevents type 2 diabetes
- Prevents macular degeneration
- Cures asthma
- Prevents cataracts
- Improves or completely gets rid of allergies
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Indigestion and heart burn are non-existent
Nutrients In a Vegan Diet
As you can see, sticking to a vegan diet can significantly reduce your chances of developing a wide range of health risks. However, you need to make sure you carefully plan your diet to get the most from it.
This means eating meals everyday that are high in nutrients. Since vegans are more limited to what they can eat, it is easier to fall short on important nutrients.
It’s also highly recommended that someone going from a normal diet to a completely plant-based one should do so at a gradual pace. In the beginning, try implementing just a single alternative to meat option.
Over some time, slowly start introducing more and more plant-based foods that gradually end up completely replacing your previous meat diet.
Since you cut out a lot of foods, you may find it difficult finding the foods you need to get enough nutrients. Well, we’re about to take a look at some of the most common nutrients that vegans struggle to get in – as well as how to get more of it!
Iron is incredibly vital for helping your blood to properly absorb oxygen. It is also very involved in ensuring oxygen makes it to cells in the body too. To boost your iron intake, try adding more leafy green vegetables and beans to more meals.
Vitamin B-12 is used to help keep your nerves and red blood cells protected from damage. However, this vitamin only comes from animals, so how can vegans consume it? Well, there are now plant-based food that have been fortified with vitamin B-12. These include B-12 fortified cereals, soy, and nutritional yeast.
When people are deficient in zinc, some of the most common signs include dermatitis, hair loss, immune issues, and a poor ability to heal wounds naturally. Furthermore, having a zinc deficiency can cause females to experience a delay in puberty.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Getting enough omega-3 healthy acids is crucial for how well your brain and eyes function. Not to mention it’s also beneficial for maintaining a healthy heart. Some of the easiest omega-3 sources that vegans can use include walnuts, flaxseeds, soy, and canola oil.
Veganism’s Effects On the Environment
Going vegan can not only have some fantastic benefits for your health, it can also positively impact the environment too.
Nowadays, most people are very in tune with being green by recycling or walking instead of driving. But did you know that one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to stop consuming products that come from animals?
The meat production industry has a massive negative effect on the environment. This is because it spans from the water and crops needed to properly feed the animals, as well as the machinery and transportation processes.
It is also known that a huge chunk of the amount of grain that’s used to feed animals and keep the meat production industry booming, is a factor for deforestation. This can even lead to the extinction of species and destroy natural habitats.
However, going vegan doesn’t require anywhere near the same amount of water and crops. So, feeding yourself with a plant-based diet creates a fraction of the damage to the environment compared to a meat eater.
Many people find that going vegan is a very enjoyable experience that gives them the chance to put their health first. In the beginning, trying to find a variety of foods to hit your nutrient requirements can feel daunting.
However, that’s another one of the reasons why it’s recommended to slowly transition to a vegan diet. It gives you more time to discover the wide range of foods available to you. It also makes sure you switch healthily too.
In conclusion, studies show us there are major clear difference between the health of a vegan compared to a standard meat eater. Vegans have improved health and as a result, they increase their life expectancy.
If you were interested about going vegan, we hope that the information we’ve discussed above can help you make the best choice possible.