A vegan diet not only shows kindness to our planet and respect for other living beings—it supports our health as well!
Here are three key benefits:
- Going Vegan Lowers Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Vegan diet is a great way to look out for your heart. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Animal products, especially red meat, have been linked to poor heart health for some time. In addition, eggs and high-fat dairy products contain a ton of cholesterol and saturated fats. These substances build in your arteries, eventually causing blockages and creating cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks.
In comparison, the vegan diet is typically low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Additionally, whole fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes are packed with nutrients that are linked to healthier hearts.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine conducted a study on the association between heart health and a plant-based diet. They found that a vegan diet lowers your risk of heart disease by a whopping 40%. They also saw a 34% drop in the chance for high blood pressure, as well as unclogged arteries in as many as 91% of patients being studied. To top those numbers off, a plant-based diet is the only one known to actually reverse heart disease.
- Going Vegan May Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer
A plant-based diet has been plainly linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer. What remains scientifically unclear is whether the vegan diet itself creates this advantage, or if the associated lifestyle changes does.
In either case, a plant-based diet seems to be the way to go. Obesity and excess weight are linked to overall higher cancer risks, and vegans tend to have a healthier body mass index. High-fiber diets have even been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Plant foods are also high in phytochemicals, which are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, and nuts. These appear to protect our cells from carcinogens and prevent diseases.
Long-time vegans also tend to have healthier habits in general. Following a wholesome, healthy diet seems to reach into other aspects of life. They have been found to smoke less, exercise more, and avoid processed and sugary treats.
Regardless of where the exact cause lies, the combination of a plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle will ultimately lower your risk of cancer.
- Going Vegan May Help You Lose Weight
A vegan diet does not immediately give you a healthier BMI, but a well-planned one can. In 2016, Harvard University ran a study that showed healthier weights in vegans and vegetarians than in meat-eaters.
There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, calorie counts play an important role. Plant-based foods tend to have fewer calories than animal-based ones. For example, one cup of chicken contains 335 calories. Meanwhile, a cup of cauliflower has a slim 27.
Secondly, fiber affects how often we eat. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system, but it also keeps you feeling full and satisfied between meals. This prevents the need to snack or resort to easy junk food. Plant-based foods are much richer in fiber than animal products. For example, one cup of prepared macaroni and cheese has 2.3 grams of dietary fiber. On the other hand, one cup of steamed broccoli has 5 grams.
Of course, a vegan meal is not necessarily a healthy meal. Weight gain on a vegan diet is just as possible as weight loss. There are thousands of highly processed, high-calorie, low-nutrient vegan foods. (Think beer and french fries!) The lasting health benefits don’t come until you focus on eating meals with whole, fresh ingredients.
Other Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet
The aforementioned benefits are only a handful of those associated with going plant-based. Here are some more that may just be the cherry on your vegan cupcake:
- Less arthritis pain. The vegan diet steers away from foods that may trigger inflammation in the body, lessening symptoms of arthritis.
- Clearer, healthier skin. Dairy in particular seems to be linked to acne, and the vegan diet cuts that out. It may also ease conditions like psoriasis.
- A boosted mood. It’s easy to see why one would have a clearer conscience on a vegan diet. But on top of that, a plant-based diet has been associated with fewer depression symptoms.
- More energy. Plant-based foods are not as heavy or food coma-inducing as animal-based ones. Moreover, it seems to be linked to better sleep and improved metabolism, which are both crucial in managing your energy levels.
If you’re looking into a vegan diet, you’re going in the right direction. After all, the benefits speak for themselves. Science has shown that what you put into your body has a real, lasting, and tangible effect. So, treat your body well, and it will return the favor.
Joanna Davison is a tiny life enthusiast, plant-based advocate, traveller, and writer. From the desert to the forest, she’s always eager to explore new places. You can view her writing at joannadavison.com