Veganism and opting for a vegan diet are becoming more and more mainstream, with people cutting out meat for environmental, ethical and health reasons. Veganism is a plant-based diet that shuns meat and dairy.
Vegan diets consist of only plant-based foods like vegetables, legume, seeds, nuts, lentils, peas, cauliflower, mushrooms, eggplant, tofu, potatoes, etc. A vegan diet if followed properly, can meet the average person’s needs for protein and most required nutrients.
Research suggests that veganism can have health benefits if properly planned. People who had been pursuing a non-vegetarian diet for most of their lives, and then embarking on a vegan diet can lead to significant changes within their body.
Following a vegan diet can have tremendous beneficial effects on the body. These are :
- Improved glucose control – Following a plant-based diet may also improve insulin sensitivity and possibly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A study founded that diabetics who followed a vegan diet exhibited greater improvements in blood glucose control, and some were even able to reduce their diabetic medications. Most plant-based diet data suggests significantly higher fiber intakes, which likely has an impact on the glycemic response as well as satiety and weight control.
- Lower cancer risk – The vegan diet consists of far higher volumes of legumes, fruits, and vegetables, fiber, and vitamin C. These are believed to protect against a variety of cancers.
- Bone health – Calcium is important for bone health and dental health. Generally, milk and cheese are good sources of calcium. But for vegans, figs, kale, spinach, and turnip greens can be excellent sources of calcium. Vegan milk alternatives are becoming more widely available, such as soy milk, almond milk, and even vegan cheese. Vegans have also shown more efficient absorption of calcium and bone metabolism, the process through which new bone tissue is formed.
- Heart health – A vegan diet has fewer calories than a standard Western diet. This leads to a lower body mass index and a reduced risk of obesity. A lower body mass index is linked to lower overall concentrations of LDL cholesterol and slightly lower blood pressure, even compared with vegetarians who continue to drink animal milk. Hence, the lower levels of harmful cholesterol mean that vegans have a lower risk of mortality from stroke and heart diseases than people who eat meat.
- Buffer against chronic diseases – A vegan diet can counteract an individual’s genetic likelihood of developing a chronic disease. A 2008 study concluded that the bioactive compounds in plant foods can control biological factors that may work against the genetic factors linked to some chronic diseases. It was seen that the antioxidants in plant-based foods can combat free radical cells that cause cell damage and inflammation.
- Overall health improvements – Vegan diet followers tend to have lower body weights, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. It also found that vegan individuals consumed and more fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium and less saturated fat.
Studies have also found that following a plant-based diet leads to lower carbon footprint on the environment and is more sustainable. Animal production requires water and crops for the animals and transportation of the animals and products, and it creates methane from cattle. Some people may also be attracted to veganism because it promotes a more cruelty-free way of living than a traditional omnivore diet.
Studies have pointed out that vegans tend to be slimmer with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and overall health status that appears to be at least as good as vegetarians that consume eggs and dairy produce.
If you are suddenly turning to veganism then it is a must that you take a sufficient diet according to your body. ZevA caters to a wide range of dieticians, sports dieticians, nutritionists and more.