It wasn’t that long ago that veganism was only regarded as a celebrity diet, a passing fad, or just another diet experiment for the adventurous fitness enthusiast – and oh, how things have changed! Veganism has become more popular than anyone would have expected even just five years ago, so much so that even those who do not follow a fully plant-based diet are becoming aware of the importance of cutting down meat and dairy consumption for the health of our planet.
Even though going vegan or dramatically reducing our animal products intake has been proven to be the most effective way of lowering our carbon footprint, there are still many misconceptions and myths surrounding plant-based diets and their effects on our energy, weight, mood, and overall health.
So, outrageous claims and skepticism aside, is a vegan diet healthy for us?
In this article, we’ll take a look at the latest nutritional science research on the benefits of following a vegan diet or reducing animal products consumption to a minimum. With all the amazing vegan products available on the market today, leaving meat, dairy, and eggs behind in favor of plant-based options certainly won’t feel like an impossible sacrifice!
Top 4 health benefits of a vegan diet
1. A vegan diet may protect against cancer
The biggest benefit of adopting a plant-based diet is definitely its ability to reduce cancer risk.
Following a vegan diet has in fact been associated with a 15% lower risk of developing cancer, which is not entirely surprising when we consider that processed meats are classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the WHO, and that high red meat intakes have also been considered a probable cause of colorectal cancer.
Avoiding animal products completely can protect vegans from all these serious health risks, making a vegan diet one of the most powerful tools we have against one of the world’s biggest killers.
2. A vegan diet helps to prevent diabetes and maintain a healthy weight
Is a vegan diet healthy when it comes weight management? All the research points to a resounding yes – and the benefits of going vegan for the sake of your weight go well beyond vanity alone!
Following a healthy, balanced vegan diet can lead to remarkable weight loss, as a whole foods plant-based diet is the only diet consistently associated with the lowest BMIs in focus groups, as well as being associated with the lowest prevalence and risk of type 2 diabetes. This means that those following a vegan diet will also have a much lower risk of developing hypertension and high blood sugar.
Calorie density is the main reason why a plant-based diet can help you manage your weight and avoid weight-related health issues, without even having to try to lose weight in the first place: vegan foods tend to have higher fiber and nutrient density per calorie, meaning that you will feel full and satiated while eating fewer calories.
It’s a win-win for the planet, the animals, and your waistline!
3. A vegan diet lowers the risk of heart disease
Heart health, another crucial aspect of healthy living and America’s number one killer, can also be greatly improved by following a vegan diet. In fact, plant-based diets are shown to not only prevent cardiovascular disease but also reverse a number of complications stemming from heart disease.
Well, a whole food plant-based diet can be virtually cholesterol-free, eliminating the risk of dangerous plaque clogging the arteries and preventing blood flow from reaching the heart the way it should. So, it’s clear that by eliminating cholesterol-laden animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease – reach out for some tofu, beans, and rice instead!
4. A vegan diet can heal your gut
Finally, studies have shown that eating a varied and balanced plant-based diet can have an incredibly positive impact on our gut microbiome, encouraging beneficial microbes to multiply and increasing the different types of microbes that live in our gut – variety is key when it comes to gut health!
A vegan diet centered around whole foods is in fact incredibly rich in a variety of fibers, which are what our gut bacteria feed on in order to grow and multiply. On top maintaining a healthy gut flora, some vegans report that a plant-based diet rich in fruit and vegetables can also naturally aid alkalinization, therefore combating excessive gut acidity and relieving chronic gastrointestinal issues.
But health is really just the beginning…
The aforementioned studies suggest that incorporating more whole foods into your diet and cutting out animal products can help improve your overall health, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that veganism is not a “miracle diet” by any means. Different lifestyle factors can contribute to the increased risk of developing these dietary killers, and research is still ongoing to figure out how exactly our dietary patterns affect our health and fitness – we are all still learning together!
It’s also important to keep in mind that avoiding some of humanity’s biggest dietary killers is not even the most compelling motivation for going vegan or incorporating more vegan foods into your diet, as the benefits that a plant-based diet can bring to the planet we all share are even greater.
If you’re considering making the switch to a kinder diet and lifestyle, our vegan marketplace has all you need to get started – so why not start today?