Vegan diets help individuals to lose weight. However, they also carry an array of additional health benefits. A vegan diet can help in maintaining a healthy heart. Such a diet can protect you against type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Veganism has multi-faceted health benefits. You live longer, eat healthier, and access a fitter body and a stronger mind. Let’s find out more about why being a vegan good for health.
Is Vegan Good for Health?
Eating a vegan diet can be the most significant way to reduce environmental impact on the earth, according to Oxford University researchers. Cutting meat and dairy products from the menu can lower the carbon footprint from food by up to 73%. If everyone stopped consuming foods, global farmlands could be reduced by 75%, an area equal to China, Australia, the EU, and the US combined!
If you switch from a Western to a vegan diet, you eliminate meat products. This spurs the inclusion of whole-foods and a vegan diet, taking the form of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, peas, beans, nuts, and seeds. As these foods make a large proportion of vegan diets, they increase the fiber content of your food, besides antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. These are richer in micronutrients(1) like potassium, folate, magnesium vitamins A, C, and E.
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1. Reduced Instances of Lifestyle Diseases
Going vegan has benefits for diabetes patients and guards against such lifestyle diseases. Vegans have lower levels of blood sugar, higher sensitivity to insulin, and a close to 50-78% lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies report that vegan diets lower diabetic blood sugar levels more than diets prescribed by organizations such as the American Diabetes Association.
Going vegan can even lower the need for blood-sugar medicines, and people with diabetes who substitute meat for plant protein reduce the risk of renal issues. Several studies also show that people with diabetes can ward off neuropathy symptoms and pain episodes by going vegan.
Vegan diets reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They lower blood sugar levels and prevent further medical issues from growing.
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2. Ward off Cancer
As per the WHO, one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors in your control, such as the diet. Eating legumes, for example, reduces the chances of colorectal cancer by as much as 18%. Research also indicates eating seven portions of fresh vegetables and fruits per day may reduce the chances of dying from cancer by 15%. Vegans eat more fruit, vegetables, and pulses as against non-vegetarians.
A recent meta-analysis of 96 research studies found vegans have 15% lower chances of dying from cancer. Vegan diets generally contain more soy products, offering protection against breast cancer. Avoiding certain non-vegetarian products also lowers the chances of breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Vegan diets lack smoked or processed meats, which are known carcinogens. Vegans also avoid dairy, which is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
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3. Lower Levels of Heart Diseases
Eating fiber-rich fresh fruits(2), vegetables, and legumes is linked to lower chances of heart disease. These are generally consumed in large amounts in well-planned vegan diets. Further, observational studies comparing vegans to non-vegans report a 75% lower chance of hypertension in the former group.
Vegans may also have a 42% lower chance of dying from heart disease. Several studies report vegan diets to reduce blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. This is beneficial in warding off heart disease by as much as 46%. Vegans also consume nuts, considered food for heart diseases.
4. Prevent Arthritis
Some studies have reported vegan diets to have positive effects on individuals facing different types of arthritis. One such study found those on the vegan diet report better functioning and higher energy levels than those who do not change their diet.
Other studies reported the effects of raw food, a probiotic-rich vegan diet on symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, in terms of symptoms like pain, joint swelling, and morning stiffness. Vegan-based diets involve probiotic-rich whole foods, thereby decreasing symptoms of osteoarthritis or RA.
5. Overall Health Benefits
Health benefits linked to vegan diets are plenty. Vegan diets lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weights. Vegans consume more fiber, vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. They have less saturated fats. The overall effect is a positive impact on weight loss and improvements in blood lipids.
6. Glycemic Control
Studies have also found people with diabetes following a vegan diet showed better blood-sugar control, and reduce medications as a result of not eating meat. Plant-based foods have high-fiber content, which impacts glycemic control positively, besides inducing weight control and satiety.
So, whether it’s all about saving the environment, your health, or both, going vegan has a host of benefits that can help you to gain on non-vegetarians. In terms of health outcomes, vegan diets are associated with lower LDL and cholesterol levels in general, and better blood sugar control.
Further, the benefits of going vegan mean better physiological health, because fruits and vegetables are antioxidant-rich, and can ward off oxidative stressors, especially free radical damage. This feature of vegan diets ensures that it safeguards individuals from chronic and lethal diseases like cancer. Vegan-linked foods are probiotic-rich and come with a wide range of benefits for health, in terms of present outcomes and future impact, too.