Veganism is becoming more and more popular with each passing day in the United States. In 2018, a Gallup poll found that about 3% of Americans are fully vegan and has noted that sales of plant-based food are also rising. Find more about the health benefits of a vegan diet below!
Apart from better awareness about vegan food and recipes, there is also a stronger understanding of how beneficial the vegan diet is for your health and the health of the planet as well. Even if people cannot be fully vegan, they are trying to do vegan-week challenges and choose more plant-based options.
Take a look at some of the health benefits associated with veganism for you!
Health Benefits Of A Vegan Diet
There are many scientific reasons why going vegan is better for your overall health and nutrition. However, that is with the understanding that you are taking care to have a balanced vegan diet and not just eating Oreos for every meal every day, yes they are vegan!
Has More Nutrients
Contrary to popular belief, a balanced vegan diet ends up giving you more nutrients in comparison to the traditional meat-heavy western meal. This is because you compensate for the lack of meat by eating more nutrient-rich food such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains and seeds.
Studies have shown that vegans tend to have higher levels of antioxidants, good fiber and other beneficial plant compounds as compared to non-vegans. It was also shown that vegans have richer amounts of potassium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and magnesium.
Helps Weight Loss
You might have wondered if people become vegan because they are fitter or do they become fitter because they are vegan? The answer is that people tend to have a lower Body Mass Index if they are following the vegan lifestyle.
This has to do with the way the body processes different types of food groups and the effects the food has on the body as well. For example, plant-based diets have more fiber which keeps you fuller for longer.
This study compared the weight loss effects of vegan and vegetarian diets against other types of diets and lifestyles. They found that even without a complete commitment to the diet, the vegetarian and vegan diets showed more weight loss than the other diets.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Another huge reason to switch to a vegan or at least semi-vegan diet is that it is extremely beneficial to those who need to watch their blood sugar levels or those with diabetes.
Compared to the average American meat-eater, vegans tend to have higher insulin sensitivity, a lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes and lower blood sugar levels. So much so that it resulted in vegans having better blood sugar levels than those on a diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association.
This study found that a whopping 43% of the participants who were on a vegan diet were able to reduce their blood sugar medicine intake, compared to the significantly lower 23% of participants who were able to do that on the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association.
Protection Against Certain Cancers
While many cancers are hard to predict and safeguard against, there is some scientific knowledge that can help us prevent the chances of getting them. Funnily enough, a lot of that knowledge and prevention have a lot to do with what we eat and our general diet.
You probably have guessed it, but yes, it is true that a vegan diet helps prevent the likelihood of developing or dying of cancer. This again has to do with the vegan diet that is high in fruits, vegetables and legumes which each have different cancer-fighting nutrients. For example, legumes help prevent the risk of colorectal cancer.
Another helpful addition to the fight against cancer is soy, which studies have found helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
So even if you can't go vegan just yet, make sure to add plenty of vegetables and fruits to your diet or go vegetarian to reduce the risk of cancer.
Lowers Risk Of Heart Disease
As you know, consuming fresh vegetables and fruits, along with legumes and healthy fibre has a multitude of health benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease.
As mentioned before, since vegan diets tend to include large quantities of these food groups, more so than traditional meat-based diets, it is only logical that vegans have a lower tendency for heart disease.
Studies have also shown that vegan diets and lifestyles are much more effective at controlling blood sugar levels, bad cholesterol, also known as LDL and overall cholesterol levels. All the things which have an impact on the health of your heart.
Reduces Pain From Arthritis
A vegan diet also helps with lifelong diseases like arthritis by helping you reduce the pain and inflammation that is associated with such a condition. This also applies across different types of arthritis.
In general, patients who were put on a vegan diet had more energy and more functionality than those who continued with a vegetable and meat diet.
This is attributed to the vegan diet consisting of more healthy probiotics, antioxidants and fibrous content than the average American diet. There is also a lack of ‘trigger foods' that are foods or food types that can trigger arthritic inflammation in vegan diets.
The Future Is Vegan
Apart from all the health benefits listed above, a vegan diet is also known for being one of the most planet-friendly diets as well! All the more reason to get the family together and have a vegan week every month, even if you can’t go fully vegan all at once.
Remember, as with every diet, the important thing is to maintain a balance. If you are going to switch to a vegan diet, remember to consult your doctor if you have any health conditions and be sure to make a comprehensive meal and diet plan that ensures you get all the nutrients you need.