The benefits of being vegan are numerous, and it has been proven to increase our wellness. As you may have noticed, more and more people turn to an all-plant diet. Why is that? Some call them crazy, others praise their commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Rather than trying to convince you to stack up fruits and vegetables, we will show you what are benefits of being vegan, plus a few disadvantages you should know about. Each and every single one of us is unique, and your body is the only one that can decide if veganism is the right choice for you.
8 Benefits of Being Vegan You Can’t Ignore
1. Veganism combats obesity
Among the most obvious health benefits of being vegan, we have the lowered weight gain. It’s scientifically proven, folks! According to a study on diet and body mass index (BMI), vegans have the lowest BMI. This means that meat-eaters, fish-eaters, and even vegetarians have a higher risk of becoming obese than vegans do. The reason is quite simple. Vegans have a high fiber intake and a no animal protein intake.
As a result, vegans are naturally thinner than others because they consume non-fattening foods. Some may think plant-eaters are starving themselves to death, but that’s not true. Anyone who follows a vegan lifestyle can enjoy a wide range of food: vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and other plant-based products. There are all healthy alternative to what the standard American is eating.
The products consumed by vegans are extremely low in fats. With one exception: nuts. These are high in fat, but they are a great source of “good” fats that benefit our health. However, practice moderation, as nuts can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess.
2. Great for cardiovascular health
Vegans have lower levels of LDL cholesterol and better blood pressure levels. Furthermore, along with the low BMI and the healthy level of blood lipids, they all contribute to a better cardiovascular health. There is also a reduced incidence of stroke and ischemic heart disorder. Why? It’s all in the diet. Fruits and vegetables offer antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals.
3. It can control diabetes
Plant-derived foods are rich in complex carbohydrates while also being low in fat. As a result, vegans can control diabetes better. As a matter of fact, including vegan dishes in a standard diet can help just about any patient in reducing the need for insulin. According to a study on the matter, it has been found that a vegan diet helps more than a diabetic diet prescribed by a doctor. A low-fat vegan diet has been shown to improve glycemia and plasma lipids.
4. Lower risk of cancer
The health benefits of being vegan are quite impressive, aren’t they? Here’s another one. Vegans consume vegetables, fruits, legumes, fiber, and vitamin C the most of all individuals. These are the healthiest foods you can find, and they pack all the nutrients required to protect us against cancer. Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals that have strong antioxidant and antiproliferative properties, showing additive and synergistic effects. Consequently, it’s these phytochemicals that interfere with the processes involved in cancer progression.
Furthermore, obesity is a risk factor for cancer. As already discussed, vegans have a lower BMI, which may be another reason why non-meat eaters are safer from cancer.
However, vegans often suffer from vitamin D deficiency, a condition also associated with increased risk of cancer. Consequently, if you choose to follow a vegan lifestyle, you might want to take vitamin D supplements.
5. Plants equal healthier bones
A vegan diet benefits the bones as well. As you may already know, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K help keep the bones healthy. And guess what foods pack all of these essential nutrients? That’s right – vegan foods. This type of diet also helps maintain the acid-base ratio. A standard diet is responsible for the loss of calcium due to its acidity. Plant-based foods, on the other hand, provide alkalinity. As a result, they can reduce bone resorption.
Vitamin K, which can be found in green leafy vegetables, has been shown to reduce the risk of hip fracture. Tofu, a beloved soy product, may improve bone mineral density and reduce bone resorption. Vegans may also have a reduced risk of osteoporosis because they lose less calcium.
6. Increased lifespan
Do you want to live longer? Then a low-fat vegan diet may help you with that. Researchers believe that a plant diet may delay the human aging process. This is due to the fact that the foods that vegans consume can help deregulate the ICF-1 activity. ICF-1 is short for insulin-like growth factor 1, a protein that plays a vital role in the regulation of the aging process.
It is also known that meat eaters, especially those who consume red or processed meats, are more likely to die from a number of serious diseases. Vegans and even vegetarians, on the other hand, are less likely to die young because of diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
7. Plants increase well-being
A vegan diet can help with your mood as well. Consuming more fruits and vegetables and cutting back on sugar and processed foods can boost your energy. You will be able to manage stress better, feel more relaxed, and even look better. Yet one of the many benefits of going vegan.
8. Vegan dishes are cheap
While quality meat and dairy can be quite expensive, vegan recipes are extremely economical. Many dishes are centered around legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. These are all cheap, especially when purchased in bulk. In-season vegetables and fruits are also affordable to anyone. Furthermore, cheap does not mean bland foods. You can prepare many delicious vegan meals that even a meat-lover can appreciate.
9. More vegans, less pollution
The benefits of being vegan go beyond the health aspect. Did you know that a great percent of man-made pollution comes from none other than the meat industry? So it’s safe to say that eating meat can be harmful to the environment in our day and age. Do you know how many calories of fossil-fuel energy are required to create every calorie of feedlot beef? The answer is 40 (in the United States). Now let’s look at the plant proteins. In this case, it takes as little as 2.2 calories of energy. That’s quite a huge difference, don’t you think?
By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach a staggering 9 billion. As a result, we will be putting more pressure on the environment. Moving towards a (more) vegan lifestyle may be crucial to our survival on Earth.
The Cons of Going Vegan
Now, although there are many benefits of being vegan, there are also a few disadvantages you should be aware of:
- It may interfere with medical conditions. If you have any medical condition, it’s critical you consult with your doctor before switching to a vegan diet. As a matter of fact, we advise on scheduling an appointment with your physician either way.
- It will not miraculously improve your health. While there are many health benefits to being a vegan, there are more things to consider. Other aspects regarding your lifestyle are equally important. There must be a balance in everything you do, and this also means exercising along with a proper diet.
- You may face vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Vegans do not get the proper vitamin B12 intake from their foods. This is an essential nutrient, which is why you will have to more B12-fortified vitamins or take daily supplements. Vitamin D is another vital nutrient that may run low on a vegan diet. Fortunately, there are many vitamin D-fortified foods you can eat more of. Such products include soy and milk, orange juice, and cereals. Alternatively, daily supplements of vitamin D should do the job just fine, especially for elderly vegans.
- Mind the possible iron deficiency. Meat is a source of iron, and it’s important that vegans get their iron intake from their foods as well. But it may prove to be more difficult when the primary source of iron is a no-no. Vegans can get the iron from spinach, white beans, soybeans, and breakfast cereals. Some may require taking daily iron supplements.
- There’s not enough protein in a vegan diet. Meat and dairy products are common sources of protein. Since you won’t be eating any of these, you may suffer from the lack of protein. Vegans can increase their protein intake by eating more beans, nuts, and tofu.
- Eating out will be a struggle. Sticking to a vegan diet when out and about will be a bit difficult. Most restaurants cater to omnivores, which is why there won’t be many vegan choices for you. Finding a vegan restaurant will take more time, and they will be on the pricey side.
The benefits of being vegan are quite impressive, but keep in mind that this diet may not work out for you. Always discuss any major change in your diet with your physician. Moving from an omnivore diet to an all-plant one is a major step. Be fully aware of what it implies. See how your body feels after making the change, and only commit to a vegan diet if your system fully allows you to.