Though it’s not exactly a new trend, the vegan diet has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Veganism has been practiced for centuries as part of religious fasting. Followers eat a plant-based diet, avoiding all animal products.
As with any way of eating which doesn’t fall within the typical Western diet, veganism is criticized by many. On the other hand, there are so many health and environment benefits that come from going vegan, which is why it’s important to know and study why adopting a plant-based diet is good for us.
You may live longer
Studies show that vegans have substantially lower death rates than meat-eaters. As per the study published in the in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal, for every three percent increase in calories from plant protein, the risk of death is reduced by 10%. Of course, the numbers are also influenced by your lifestyle, in general, and other unhealthy habits. While chips may be vegan, they are not exactly a healthy choice. And not being active, won’t score too many points for you, either. Combining a healthy lifestyle with a vegan diet may increase your life expectancy.
You may lower your risk of heart disease
Living a healthier life – which includes cutting down on meat – may lower your risk of heart disease. Eating more plants reduces the obesity risk and also lowers your blood pressure. Both influence the likelihood of getting heart disease.
The best evidence comes from the Lyon Diet Heart Study, which found out that the Mediterranean diet cuts heart attacks and death by 70% compared to the American diet. The Mediterranean cuisine makes use of vegetables, legumes, fruits, olive oil, and nuts and also allows fish and poultry but discourages eating red meat often.
You may be protected against cancer
According to World Health Organization, a third of all cancers can be prevented. Modifying your diet influences the chance to get cancer. Since there’s a link between being overweight or obese and many types of cancers, eating a diet which is high in fruits and vegetables may protect against cancer.
You may prevent and treat diabetes
When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing doctors recommend is a diet change. You do need to pay attention how much of certain vegetables, fruits, and legumes you are allowed to eat once you are diagnosed, but a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits help lower the blood sugar levels. A recent study proved that a low-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Healthy individuals who eat a diet low in fat and mostly containing whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits keep their blood sugar levels stable.
You may lose weight
Switching from a diet which includes meat and dairy to a vegan diet may cause you to lose weight. You need to remember that not all vegan foods are healthy and creating a new lifestyle based on french fries, rice and meat substitutes won’t result in weight loss. But when a vegan diet is balanced and includes healthy foods, the amount of fiber you get will kick start the weight loss. Maintaining a healthy vegan diet ensures you keep your weight in normal ranges.
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You will help save our planet
A plant-based diet requires a lot less land than a meat-based diet. It is also sustainable and ethical. While being a vegetarian does help as well, you should consider several things. There are a lot of voices arguing that if the animals are happy, then it’s totally fine to sacrifice them for consumption. In reality, even the production of free range eggs means killing the male chicks since they are “unnecessary”. And the situation is not happier with cheese production either: not only the male calves are heading to an early death because they are not needed, but once a cow doesn’t produce enough milk, she is heading to the slaughter house as well. Being vegan means you help save the lives of all these animals, as well as help save our planet.
You may save money
Contrary to popular belief, switching to vegan foods doesn’t mean you’ll rack up more money for your weekly grocery shopping. Meat is one the most expensive items out there and even if you buy more veggies, you won’t break the bank. Plus, frozen vegetables and fruits are healthy and affordable. And let’s not forget the farmers’ markets which offer excellent produce at great prices.
You may feel happier
Studies show that an omnivore diet drags your mood down. In contrast, simply avoiding meat improves your mood. That’s because meats are high in arachidonic acid, which in high quantities, can disturb your mood.
Your skin may glow
Your skin loves the antioxidants which come in dark leafy greens, as well as red and orange veggies and fruits. Many new vegans report changes which seem to happen almost overnight. Studies show that indeed there is a link between ditching dairy and having an acne-free skin. Even better, a vegan diet also ensures your nails and hair are healthier and stronger.
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