A vegan diet, commonly known as a plant-based diet, includes salads, nuts, legumes, grains, seeds, bread, pasta, rice, and dairy alternatives like soymilk, almond, milk, and coconut milk. Proponents of this dietary regimen consume zero animal products, like fish, eggs, meat, honey, and dairy.
The choice to go vegan can be due to health issues, dietary restrictions, and ethical reasons like the desire to protect animals and reduce the environmental impact of farm-raised meat.
Here are nine ways you can benefit from adopting a vegan diet.
1. Better Heart Health
Plant-based diets are good sources of fiber, an essential carbohydrate that helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. You can find vegan recipes and inspiration on sites like Veggie Spy, which offer detailed instructions on preparing delicious vegan meals.
Avoiding animal products can also be good for your heart. Meat, butter, eggs, and cheese are animal products with high levels of saturated fats. Eating foods with these products raises cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease.
2. Helps With Weight Loss
Eating vegan meals helps you control your weight better as they have lower calories than animal-based foods. Additionally, the high fiber content of most vegan diets can assist in weight loss goals by filling you up faster than other diets, lowering the impulse to snack or overeat. A vegan’s body mass index (BMI) is lower on average than that of those who consume animal-based products.
However, there are still plenty of foods that don’t contain animal products and are still unhealthy to consume in large amounts. It would be best if you did not over-indulge in processed and high-fat foods to avoid excessive weight gain.
3. Reduces Risk of Certain Cancers
Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can reduce your chances of cancer in the uterus, breasts, ovaries, stomach, colon, and prostate. For example, soymilk – which is lactose-free, has low cholesterol levels, and is a popular vegan substitute for cow’s milk – is known to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, so reducing the risk of developing this potentially severe disease is a high priority for many people and a significant benefit of switching to a vegan diet.
4. Aids in Improving Blood Sugar Levels
Type 2 diabetes is a common type of diabetes that runs in families. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which typically manifests during childhood, the onset of type 2 usually occurs in adults over the age of 45.
Developing type 2 diabetes can be highly destabilizing at any stage of life; however, a simple lifestyle change may help reverse the disease. A plant-based diet effectively controls blood sugar levels three times more than when you have an animal-based meal. For this reason, various diabetes management programs advocate adopting vegan diets.
5. Helps in Digestion
Plant fiber helps digestion by reducing constipation as the soluble fats allow water absorption in your stool. Trips to the bathroom become more frequent and comfortable, and your risk of developing colon disease and hemorrhoids decreases as well. Plant-based grains and vegetables contain high amounts of fiber, while animal products contain little or no fiber.
6. Has Anti-inflammatory Properties
Vegan foods are rich in antioxidants. Omega 3 fatty acids in algae, seaweed, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and pecans can help reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatory properties also help to lower cognitive impairment in older adults and those with inflammatory arthritis.
Antioxidants also help to boost your body’s immune system, reducing your risk of catching infectious diseases.
7. Reduced Risk of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is one of the most unpleasant potential consequences of eating spoiled or ill-prepared food. Animal products are often exposed to chemicals in medicine and pesticides during rearing and bacteria during processing, meaning that a diet high in animal products carries a greater risk of food poisoning than a plant-based diet.
When partaking in vegan meals, your chances of food poisoning are highly reduced. Antioxidants from plants also help to fight bacteria that may lead to food poisoning, such as E. coli and salmonella.
8. Vegan Meals Help to Protect the Environment
Compared to animal products, plant-based foods are beneficial to the environment. Growing plants is more efficient than rearing animals because producing animal foods requires more extensive land use and water than plants. Growing plants also leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
Furthermore, methane produced by cows has been proven to be the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector. Reducing global meat consumption by switching to and promoting a vegan diet will help reduce the effects of climate change by lowering worldwide emissions of gases that harm the ozone layer.
9. Vegan Food Protects Animals
Animal products like meat and gelatin require an animal to be killed. Some people feel this is inhumane and unkind and causes suffering to animals. Where alternatives are available, and you choose plant foods, you are kinder to the animals, and it is also a more compassionate choice of eating.
Even non-lethal animal products such as cheese and milk depend on the subjugation – and, in many cases, the mistreatment – of livestock. Egg-bearing chickens are often kept in tiny cages that restrict their movement, while dairy cows are forced to produce gallons of milk and have their calves taken away from them right after birth. These animals suffer physical and psychological ailments and often live short and lonely lives.
Many people balk at the idea of giving up their favorite meat products, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and bacon. However, health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes that often come from advancing age may necessitate a drastic change in diet. Besides, the abundance of realistic “fake meat” products on the market these days means you don’t have to totally give up the experience of eating your favorite meat-based foods.
Choosing meals made from plants is now common, and they’re available in casual and upscale restaurants worldwide. You can also easily prepare plant-based foods at home. Their numerous nutritional benefits help your body’s systems work more effectively, and their lower environmental impact helps reduce the meat and dairy industry’s detrimental effects on the planet.