Nowadays, many people stop meat-based and switch to vegan based diet pattern. Amid the growing enthusiasm for a plant-based diet, you may wonder if you should consider trying it.
This trend is not new; people have been practicing veganism and vegetarianism for thousands of years. In the past few years, the acceptance of people for a vegan diet over a meat diet has increased due to various reasons, such as being animal friendly, the impact of animal-based diets on health, or the health benefits of the vegan diet. Let’s understand what a vegan diet is and its health benefits.
What is the vegan diet?
Vegan people exclude all forms of animal by-products from their lives, including food, apparel, cosmetics, wool coats, leather furniture or clothing, and other leisure activities.
Similarly, a vegan diet is purely plant-based and excludes all animal-derived products, including dairy products, meats, and eggs.
A vegan diet helps you lose weight, which is one of the most common reasons for the switch to becoming vegetarian. The following are some delicious food that comes under the vegan diet:
- Fruits and vegetables in fresh, frozen, canned, or dried form
- Whole grains and food products made from these grains, such as pasta and whole-grain bread
- Seeds and nuts
- Peas, lentils, and beans
- Maple syrup
- Fortified-plant milk and yogurt
- Soy products such as fortified soy milk, soybeans, tofu, and natto
- Other plant-based products, such as algae and nutritional yeast
A vegan diet avoids animal-derived food products, such as milk, cheese, butter, creams, honey, whey, gelatin, eggs, chicken, pork, beef, fish, shellfish, and other water animals.
What are the health benefits of a vegan diet?
Consuming a plant-based diet fulfills most of our daily nutrient requirements. The following are a few health benefits of a vegan diet:
- Promote weight loss: Vegan diet contains low fat, lower calories, and high fiber content, which promote higher metabolism and manage weight. According to a study, participants who followed a strict vegan diet lost more weight than those following the Mediterranean diet over 16 weeks.
Dieters who follow a vegan diet tend to have lower body mass indices (BMIs) than those who follow other diets.
- Lower blood sugar levels: Plant-based diet doesn’t cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels after eating. It also maintains blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance, which reduces the risk of type2 diabetes in people. Therefore, if you struggle to manage your blood sugar levels, you can try a plant-based diet.
- Improves heart health: According to American Heart Association (AHA), a plant-based diet is rich in fiber, with less saturated fats, and reduces cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the vegan diet contains fewer calories and causes lower BMI reducing the risk of obesity, which is also a contributing factor to heart disease.
- Decreases risk of various cancers: Plant-based diet contains high fibers, vitamins, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds that fight against cancer and reduce the multiplication of cancer cells.
According to many researchers, red and processed meat is probably carcinogenic and increases the risk of colorectal, pancreatic, stomach, breast, and prostate cancer. Replacing it with plant-based foods can lower the risk of these cancers.
- Decreases risk of stroke: Following a vegan diet may wipe out the risk factors of stroke, such as high blood pressure levels, excessive body weight, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.
- Enhances brain health: Vegan diet contains polyphenols and antioxidants, which slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and help improve cognitive functions.
- Reduces arthritis symptoms: According to one study, a vegan diet contains higher antioxidants and bioactive compounds that may improve symptoms of arthritis, including pain, discomfort, joint and muscle swelling, and stiffness. Plant-based food increases energy levels and improves the functioning of joints.
Regardless of its health benefits, many people choose a vegan diet for environmental benefits. With a vegan lifestyle, we contribute less air pollution and less utilization of fossil fuels and natural resources.
The popularity of the vegan diet is on the rise. It can offer many health advantages, such as weight management, and better heart health, thus preventing the risk of various chronic diseases. Many people encounter nutrition deficiency with a long-term plant-based diet. Therefore, if you think of switching your diet to a vegan diet plan, do it carefully to ensure you get enough essential nutrients.