The term veganism has become very popular in recent times, with it referring to a lifestyle that involves staying away from food or even clothes that have been made through the involvement of some kind of human exploitation of animals. Even more popular is the vegan diet as it refers to the eating aspect of this kind of lifestyle.
The vegan diet refers to consumption of only plant-based foods with the aim of eliminating any exploitation of living beings. How vegans are different from vegetarians is just in the fact that vegetarians can actually consume honey, milk, and eggs while for a vegan, even these are never an option.
While it might seem like a difficult lifestyle choice at face value for anyone who is used to tasty animal products, living on a vegan diet actually harbors a lot of benefits and here are fifteen of them.
1.It can help you lose weight
Weight loss is usually a tough journey for most people, especially nowadays when obesity has become rampant but studies show that vegans tend to have a relatively lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than people who are not. This could be attributed to the fact that animal products are higher in calories owing to the amount of fat contained in them.
When you choose to go vegan, it means you can enjoy more food since it’s generally lower in calories, which subsequently makes you less prone to cravings and hunger pangs, compared to meat eaters who have to watch their portions and will often feel hungry. You generally take in more fibre which makes you feel fuller.
2. Veganism helps increase physical fitness
Others might argue that veganism is not the best way to go especially if you are looking to get into physical activities such as working out among others. Their reason is mostly centred on the fact that the protein intake of a vegan is relatively lower than that of a person who eats meat.
The thing is, if you eat a varied vegan diet, it supports faster recovery and vegans who like to train are often able to get back to training faster as they will be able to get as much protein as they need in order to stay healthy. It’s not all about the muscle. Recovery period counts too. Vegans are also less likely to get injured as their diet does not include foods that generally weaken the body.
3. There is a reduced risk of kidney failure among vegans
Kidney failure can be attributed to the kind of protein intake and animal proteins are actually very harmful especially when consumed in plenty.
Proteins obtained from plants, which make up part of the vegan diet, are known to encourage proper production levels within body organs such as the kidney and the liver.
4. It helps in avoiding certain cancers
Cancers are deadly and often times, the cause is unknown, but in certain cases, it is possible to reduce the risk of getting some of them. According to the World Health Organization, close to a third of cancers are as a result of the kind of foods we eat.
Eating more fruits and vegetables, for example, will reduce your risk of dying from them by about fifteen percent. The nutrients in a plant-based diet usually protect your cells. Colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer are a few examples of cancers that can be reduced from proper eating. Although you might not entirely be able to avoid getting them, you can certainly reduce the risk of dying from them by choosing a vegan diet.
5.It can reduce pain from arthritis
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that comes with a lot of pain. When people affected by arthritis go on a vegan diet, they are relatively able to function better than those who consume animal products. Studies show that vegans will have an improvement in symptoms and higher energy levels, meaning less pain, less stiffness or swelling.
6.It can help lower sugar levels
Blood sugar should be maintained at a certain level and having high blood sugar is dangerous to your health. A diet that is plant-based actually reduces your chances of getting diabetes type two by between fifty to seventy-eight percent. This is because the diet helps in reducing damage caused by high sugar intake.
The whole grains and fiber eaten by vegans break down slowly, meaning they keep the sugar levels down.
7.It is richer in certain nutrients
When you get into this kind of diet, you should learn how to properly replace the meat in order for you to have sufficient intake of nutrients. This is just in case you’ve heard of the misconception that vegans lose out on nutrients. Often times, the nutrients referred to in this case are proteins.
Meat usually has a way of taking up the better part of any recipe which should not actually be the case and it also often makes you reduce your intake of micronutrients. A vegan diet, on the other hand, ensures that you never overlook certain micronutrients, contrary to what a non-vegan diet could do. Going vegan allows you to absorb all the nutrients necessary for a healthy body.
8. It reduces your risk of getting heart disease
The number of people dying of heart disease has increased in recent times and diet is one of the factors that cause it. More meat consumption means an increase in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, owing to the fact that it involves the consumption of saturated fats. This subsequently puts a strain on the heart.
With a vegan diet, you reduce your risk of getting heart disease by up to forty-two percent. In fact in vegans, chances of getting high blood pressure are significantly reduced by seventy-five percent owing to the fact that they are more likely to eat foods that maintain a healthy heart such as vegetables and whole grains.
9. It lowers your levels of cholesterol
Cholesterol can only be consumed through animal products and not through plants, making vegans have relatively lower cholesterol levels than people who eat meat.
Cholesterol is harmful in that it could lead to your having blocked arteries which is a cause of heart disease. That is why a vegan lifestyle helps you stay healthy as it allows your body to naturally create cholesterol in the required levels.
10. It protects against osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition whereby bones become fragile. Contrary to popular belief that animal products such as milk are great for boosting the strength of your bones and calcium as well, proteins in animal products generally leach calcium from your bones because they are high in sulfur.
Instead of boosting bone strength, they increase fracture rates compared to plant-based foods which contain two to five times less amino acids than meat. Plant foods reduce calcium loss and promote bone strength.
11. It reduces migraines
A vegan diet can be of great help to people who constantly suffer from migraines as it excludes several migraine triggers e.g. dairy products and has a positive general effect on hormones. Compared to meat-based products, they have less inflammatory properties
12. It helps in stress reduction
A vegan diet has a positive impact on a person’s mood in that it reduces their levels of anxiety. Meat-based diets contain high levels of arachidonic acid which in high amounts, will distort the existing balance between omega six and omega three acids, thus causing stress.
High intake of arachidonic acid alters the brain and causes a change in mood. Studies, therefore, show that vegans report lower levels of stress compared to people who eat meat.
13. A vegan diet is great for balancing hormones
For our bodies to function properly, the hormones need to be balanced as they control every function. The high fat contained in animal products increases estrogen in the blood which, if present at high levels, could lead to serious health problems.
Vegans have lower estrogen levels because of the lower fat content of their diet as well as the fact that they have more of the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) that ensures the hormones only become active when needed.
14. It protects against asthma and allergies
Some allergies can be affected by certain foods and nutrition can also cause certain changes in people with asthma. With a diet based on plants, people with asthma have noticed a decrease in the amount of medication they need as well as a reduction in the number of episodes they get. Eating more fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of asthma because they are an improvement to the body’s immune system function.
The slimmer figure of vegetarians also makes them less susceptible to asthma as thinner people compared to heavier ones have just a one-third risk of getting asthma.
15. It makes your skin appear more beautiful
Diet is among the factors that affect the appearance of the skin. A low-fat diet such as the ones eaten by vegans means less acne for people. Dairy products could cause severe cases of acne vulgaris compared to native traditional low-fat foods which is why the skin of people on a plant-based diet is often healthier and clearer.
These are fifteen of the many benefits that exist when it comes to incorporating a vegan diet. Despite a few red flags raised with regards to it such as the lower intake of protein, the benefits certainly outweigh the disadvantages.