Being a vegan has numerous benefits to your health, mind and body. Read on to learn more about these benefits.
It is common to see people get confused in their distinction between vegans and animal rights activists. Whereas a vegan has genuine compassion for animals, the vegan lifestyle and diet are more than just animal rights. Living this kind of life awards one with innumerable benefits to their health, mind and body. It sets you free from preventable diseases that most of the entire population is struggling with.
Health Benefits of a Vegan Lifestyle
Eating a healthy vegan diet has been found to give advantages to the vegan over numerous diseases. Different studies indicate that vegan diet has high amounts of vitamins C and E, folic acid, fiber, numerous phytochemicals, unsaturated fat and magnesium. As a result of these healthy ingredients, it is normal to find the vegan being thinner, having lower amounts of cholesterol, reduced risk of heart diseases and lower blood pressure, among other benefits.
By adopting the vegan style of life, you expose yourself to the following health benefits:
- Improves on the Psoriasis Symptoms
Psoriasis is a disease in which the skin develops redness and irritating feelings. Individuals suffering from this disease find it to be debilitating, affecting their overall health. For some, the skin on their hand’s palm may become so tight that they are unable to open their hands. The good news is that the stressful symptoms can be improved with the aid of a vegan diet. Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil, published a research which supports this assertion. Given that psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, anything that reduces the inflammation helps. The different plant-based diets that improve on psoriasis include nuts, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Improves on Eyesight
It is very rare to find a vegan struggling with poor eyesight. This is because they consume meals enriched with either lutein or zeaxanthin, ingredients found to curb eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration in old age. Vegans usually obtain these from different fruits and vegetables including green beans, mango, squash, and spinach. Others such as carrots are deeply enriched with beta-carotene which the body changes to vitamin A. Vitamin A fights against vision problems including night blindness and glaucoma. Vegans also obtain beta-carotene from sweet potatoes.
- Lowers One’s Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
The University of Oxford published its study on cardiovascular diseases, in which it proved a direct relationship between heart-based diseases and one’s diet. In the study, meat eaters were shown to have a higher risk of heart failure while the risk was diminished in vegans. The direct link is explained in terms of a vegan diet being highly enriched with antioxidant foods needed to curb damages by oxidative stress. Due to their lifestyle, cases of heart attacks among the vegans are very low. Furthermore, the plant-based diet is low on cholesterol, a major cause of heart attacks.
- Lowers Risk to Blood Pressure
Vegan diets are the taps needed to turn off the pressure in your blood. The normal blood pressure reading is (120-139)/(80-89) where the numerator represents the systolic pressure while the denominator is the diastolic pressure. Figures above these will lead you to be termed to have a high blood pressure. Just the same way a vegan diet is of benefit to lowering CVD, the diet curbs abnormal rises in blood pressure. It’s important to understand that high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases also go hand in hand.
- Vegan Lifestyle Protects Against Certain Types of Cancers
The World Health Organization reports that at least one-third of all cancer types can be avoided by control measures within our reach. For instance, a diet in which legumes constitute the main portion can be used to prevent colorectal cancer. The risk of dying from cancer can be reduced by 15% if one ate 7 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Generally, the vegan diet has high amounts of legumes, fruits and vegetables compared to what the non-vegan take. This could be the reason as to why vegans have a 15% lower chance of dying from cancer. Additionally, the vegan diet has soy products known to safeguard one against breast cancer.
- Improves on the Arthritis Pain
For people living with various types of arthritis, adopting a vegan diet can see them have an improved quality of life. One study sought to find answers on this aspect using 40 arthritic patients. The study was done for a period of 6 weeks during which one group ate omnivorous diet while the other depended entirely on vegan diet. At the end of the diet, those who used a vegan diet reported having higher levels of energy as opposed to those who did not change their diet.
The vegan lifestyle is basically healthy to persons of all ages, including children, the elderly, pregnant and lactating women. But even as vegans enjoying these health benefits, they need to be keen on their diets so as to avoid possibilities of certain nutrients deficiencies.
Mind Benefits of a Vegan Lifestyle
A vegan lifestyle also has significant benefits to one’s state of mind. Being a vegan may sound as if your food freedom is being held hostage. Every time you think about the great meals the world has been introduced to, including pizza, cheese, and ice cream, it may be difficult to comprehend why one would give this stuff. But the mental benefits could be the reason to do that.
Vitamin A is required for different brain functions such as memory, learning and vision. Plants are a great source of Vitamin A, which works to the benefit of vegans.
The peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that you are making a difference to the environment is one which many vegans would love to exploit. As a result of their lifestyle, they see themselves as guardians of nature as they discourage the killing of animals. The vegan lifestyle helps reduce the number of animals killed and also conserve water. 2,500 gallons of water are required in the production of 1 pound of meat as opposed to the 25 gallons needed to produce 1 pound of wheat.
Veganism has also been found to improve people’s mood. Animal diets have high amounts of arachidonic acid, which is directly related to mood disturbances. On the other hand, a vegan diet is low on this substance.
A well-balanced vegan diet has sufficient nutrients required to enhance one’s brain health and development. However, a lot effort is required to ensure that doesn’t fall short of key brain enhancing ingredients when you are a vegan.
For instance, iron is a necessary nutrient in the development of one’s brain. Iron is needed for the production of neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine), cell signaling, development of infant brain and production of energy for the brain. The amount of iron obtained from the plant-based foods is lower than that obtained from animals. Furthermore, absorbing plant iron is tougher than absorbing iron from animals.
Vegans also battle with lower zinc a level, which is needed for various purposes including supporting the synthesis of serotonin, cell signaling and vitamin B activation. A Swiss study established that zinc deficiency in vegans is at 47% as opposed to the non-vegans where the deficiency is at 10%. You need zinc for you to manage the progression of stress. By having low levels of these, vegans expose themselves to the risk of becoming depressed.
Body Benefits of a Vegan Lifestyle
- Loss of weight
A reduction in one’s body weight as a result of being a vegan is one of the most talked about benefits of this lifestyle. Compared to the non-vegans, the vegans are generally thinner and have a lower body mass index. Numerous studies have also been done to confirm this theory. In one such study, participants who relied on the vegan diet lost 4.2 kg within 18 weeks. An interesting twist to the study is that even the calorie-restricted dieters didn’t lose as much weight as the vegans who were even allowed to eat until full. Vegan diets are generally designed in such a manner that calorie intake is reduced. This makes them one of the most effective ways to promote loss of weight without having to concentrate on the reduction of calories.
- Improved body odor
What you eat determines how you smell. Non-vegans are generally found not to be happy with the way they smell and this is contributed to their large amounts of animal food consumption including dairy, meat and eggs. By getting rid of red meat and dairy from your diet, you significantly lower body odor. In its most basic terms, going vegan means smelling better. By relying on the vegan diet, you would soon realize a difference in the odor emitted by your sweat. It tends to smell more like water and it wouldn’t take long before you start depending less on deodorants.
- Body mass index
Vegans generally have a lower body mass index compared to individuals who consume meat-related diets. A low BMI indicates that you have low fat in your body, hence healthier.
- Stronger hair
Hair health is improved by a vegan lifestyle. Biotin, protein and vital fatty acids are the ingredients which supply the scalp and your body with what it needs for a healthy hair. Legumes, grains and nuts are some of the popular vegan diets responsible for positive hair growth.
In conclusion, a vegan diet has more merits than demerits. It is generally considered to be a healthy lifestyle and an ideal one for that matter.