Veganism is a controversial topic these days, with some people embracing it as THE diet for humans to adopt while others cannot believe that we could possibly survive without eating meat or eggs. There have been multiple studies recently that have been trying to determine the benefits or risks to a vegan diet. Over the course of these scientific studies, multiple health benefits have been discovered. It seems that vegans may be on to something after all. Let’s take a look at the six (science-backed) health reasons FOR a vegan diet!
Veganism Provides Multiple Health Benefits
Not only does adopting a vegan diet help you to lose weight (when focusing on whole, plant-based foods), it also offers other great benefits such as protection against cancer and keeping a healthy heart. Let’s go down the list:
Consumption of More and Varied Nutrients
Once you eliminate animal products from your diet, you’ll need to consume more of other types of foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, legumes, starches and nuts. Fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes are chock full of vitamins and minerals and with an increased consumption of these items, an increased consumption of these vitamins will come along with it.
More fiber will be eaten as well, which contributes to gut health, as well as antioxidants and other plant compounds. Plant foods provide more potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E than animal products do.
The key here is to focus on whole plant foods, not the fast food vegan-style options. They should not be your main meals, but more for on-the-go and when you need a super quick meal. Whole foods will provide the best benefits and help you to lose weight faster.
Lose Excess, Stubborn Weight
As I stated previously, many folks are choosing to try a vegan diet in order to lose weight and they have the right idea. In general, vegans tend to be more thin on average and have lower BMIs than meat-eaters and even vegetarians.
In many studies, it has been proven that vegan diets are the most effective in terms of weight loss than other diets, at least the ones made in comparison to in the studies. In one, the vegans lost 9.3 more pounds than participants on the control diet.
What is great about a vegan diet, when eating whole plant-based foods, you can eat until you feel full, not restrict calories and STILL lose weight. Win-win!
Even when a vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t followed perfectly, people on either of these diets still tend to lost more weight than those on the standard American diet.
Who doesn’t want to try and prevent cancer? Just the word puts fear into most people’s hearts. Amazingly, eating a vegan diet can help you to prevent cancer. Simple!
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) says that one-third of all cancers could be prevented by factors within your control. This is great news because this means you can do something about it. Diet is one of these prevention measures.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are key here, because according to one study, eating at least seven portions of either could lower your risk of dying from cancer by up to 15%. In addition, regularly eating legumes can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by 9-18%. Not bad, not bad.
Even though soy can get a bad rap, several studies have shown that it could offer protection against breast cancer. Meat and other animal products are the food items that could increase cancer, unfortunately. Just avoiding these food times can help reduce the risk of developing different cancers, such as breast, colon and prostate.
Not only that, but smoked and processed meats are the worst and dairy could even increase the risk of prostate cancer. Since vegans automatically avoid eating all of these items, they reap the benefits of the lowered risk of cancer.
Lower Blood Sugar and Improve Kidney Health
Another benefit to eating vegan is lower blood sugar levels and a 50-78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a disease that is running rampant in America. Some studies have even reported that vegan diets lower blood sugar even better than the diets recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Heart Association (AHA).
When comparing a vegan diet to an ADA diet, 43% of the subjects in the vegan group reduced their usage of blood-sugar-lowering medication whereas just 26% did in the ADA group.
In terms of kidney function, several studies show that diabetics who decide to eat plant protein instead of meat can improve their kidney health. In addition, other studies have shown that a vegan diet could provide complete relief from systemic distal polyneuropathy symptoms – a diabetic condition that causes severe pain.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans and it all links back to our diet. The standard American diet is failing us all. Since vegans eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and fiber, they automatically have a lower risk of heart disease.
Comparing vegans, vegetarians and the standard American diet, it has been reported that vegans can benefit from up to a 75% lowered risk of developing high blood pressure. Seventy-five percent!
In addition, vegans have a 42% lowered risk of dying from heart disease. These numbers are incredible and very exciting.
Risks and Things to Consider When Trying a Vegan Diet
It is very important for vegans or people who are experimenting with a vegan diet to make sure that they are getting enough nutrients, vitamins and calories. The easiest way to do this is to have a well-rounded diet that is whole-food plant-based. This means cutting out processed foods and junk vegan food, such as veggie burgers and replacement type meals for typical meat/dairy meals (macaroni and cheese).
Make sure you’re eating the whole foods such as eating the fruit instead of drinking juice. You are probably going to be cooking A LOT more. That is a good thing though, and much cheaper than eating out.
It is highly recommended that vegans take a B12 supplement because B12 is not found in any plant-based foods except duckweed, which nobody really eats. B12 is produced by soil bacteria and is found on unwashed produce and animal sources. Most of our produce is washed, however, and we won’t find B12 on it.
Vegans should also take D3 supplements and possibly an omega-3 supplement, such as one sourced from algae. Taking at least these three supplements will ensure you’re getting what you need every day.
With type 2 diabetes and heart disease on a rampage across America, the fact that scientific studies have proven that veganism can help cure these diseases is incredibly exciting news. We are not at the whim of our aging bodies. We can choose to change our lifestyles, including our diets, and get healthier and better. Even when not following a vegan diet perfectly, you can still reap the benefits. Try adding more fruits, vegetables and legumes to your diet today!
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