Being Vegan is a great lifestyle choice for an abundance of reasons and people all over the world are changing to a vegan diet every day. Whether it’s climate change, reducing green house gas emissions or the lack of animal cruelty, it’s clear that veganism is good for the environment. But is being vegan a healthy choice?
We’re going to have a look at the health benefits of a vegan diet. Find out more about the environmental benefits of being vegan here.
What is a Vegan Diet?
Let's quickly cover the basics. A vegan diet contains absolutely no animal products, at all. This means you would not eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy and honey. You would however be able to make the most of all other food groups and the wide variety of plant-based meat alternatives we have available in the 21st century.
If you're taking your first steps towards veganism, or generally just curious of ways to switch up your lifestyle, read some of our tips to going vegan here.
Health Benefits of Veganism
There are so many health benefits to being vegan. From maintaining a healthy weight, boosting your mood and improved skin quality to reduced risk of heart disease, the vegan way brings some welcomed improvements to your body.
So let's dive in.
Dairy often gets associated with skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema, sometimes leading to chronic skin issues. For individuals who already suffer with poor skin, swapping to a vegan diet can lead to almost overnight improvements.
As a vegan diet contains foods such as whole grains, flax seeds and plenty of greens, the large amount of Vitamin A and C will often reduce oil in the skin. The antioxidants from eating way more fruit and veggies than you were doing prior to your vegan diet leave skin with a healthy glow.
Sleep is extremely important. The amount and quality of sleep we get during the night will have a direct impact on the kind of day we have following it. We need to rest, recharge and relax in order to perform to our highest ability. This is important for everyday tasks and extremely important for fitness. When we lack in sleep, our immune system is compromised, we have low mood and little motivation.
A vegan diet can increase levels of tryptophan which, in turn, increases melatonin and serotonin. These metabolites help to increase the amount of sleep we get and the quality. Some research has found that fiber rich diets can lead to deeper sleep and low saturated fats may result in you feeling more refreshed after sleep.
Losing weight isn't everyone's goal, but for those who are trying to shift excess weight and maintain a healthy life style, going vegan could be a smart choice.
Many studies have found that vegans tend to be thinner than the average meat eater, as well as vegan diets showing much more consistent weight loss than meat alternative diets.
Vegan foods are often much lower in calories than animal products, making a calorie deficit much easier to achieve. They also tend to have lower levels of saturated fat and due to the increase in fiber, should keep you full for longer.
Plant-based foods are extremely good for digestion. This is because they contain natural probiotics, prebiotics and antioxidants which nourish and support our gut health.
As well as this, choosing to have a vegan diet can reduce intestinal inflammation, bloating, cramps and diarrhea that come with meat and dairy consumption.
Over 70 million adults are considered to be obese in the US. This means over 70 million adults have an increased risk of developing diabetes. A plant-based diet can help aid weight loss and, in turn, decrease the risk of developing diabetes. As well as this, people on a vegan diet often have lower blood sugar levels, reducing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
However, being vegan might be the solution we've all been looking for. Not only does it cut out the need for processed and red meats, it also has plenty of food groups that help to reduce risk of different cancers.
Studies have found that eating 7 portions of fruits and vegetables per day may lower your risk of dying from cancer by up to 15%. Regularly eating legumes can decrease risk of colorectal cancer and soy can help prevent breast cancer. Avoiding meats cooked at high temperatures might decrease the risk of prostate, colon, and breast cancer.
Good for the Heart
The leading cause of death in the US is heart disease. Regularly eating fruits, vegetables, fiber, and legumes has been directly linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Vegan diets, when planned correctly, will have these foods in abundance. This can reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure and, as a result, decrease risk of heart disease.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and our diet plays a vital role in our mood. Filling your body with foods that are high in sugar, deep fried and processed will often leave you feeling tired and unmotivated. This is because your digestion system is taking all your energy whilst it works harder to process these foods. These feelings can often be associated with depression.
If you are someone who struggles to lose or maintain their weight, these unhealthy foods may lead to weight gain and lack of motivation to exercise. This could have a direct impact on happiness and anxiety.
Whether you're going vegan because of your love for animals, to be more sustainable or to prioritise your health, you will benefit from the diet in so many ways outside of your personal reason.
Start small, try Meat Free Mondays, vegan for a week or the new vegan restaurant that's just opened up in town.
Every little helps your health and the planet.