As a growing lifestyle over the past few years, plant-based diets seem to be here to stay. Every year vegan diets rise in popularity, with more people adopting the lifestyle. As this becomes more and more mainstream, many people are curious about the benefits. Here are some of the many reasons to consider a vegan diet.
Many people choose a vegan diet to help them lose weight. Research shows that most vegans consume fewer calories, therefore find weight loss easier than those eating meat-based diets. This is due to consuming larger amounts of fresh fruit, vegetables and more whole foods, all of which make you feel fuller for longer.
There are many health benefits from eating a vegan diet, these include diabetes prevention, hypertension control and a lower risk of heart disease. In fact, research shows that a plant-based diet can help those who have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is because consumption of whole fiber-rich foods, which help protect against diabetes. Additionally, legumes have been shown to improve insulin resistance and protect against metabolic syndrome thereby helping to prevent blood sugar spikes.
A vegan diet can also help lower blood pressure (hypertension control) and the risk of heart disease. On average, those that consume eight or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day are 30% less likely to have a stroke or heart attack compared to those that consume less than 2 servings daily. However, the main reason a vegan diet helps with both blood pressure and heart disease is due to a largely reduced consumption of processed products that are often high in sodium.
Reducing or eliminating your consumption of animal products can improve your complexion. This is due to a reduction in saturated fats, which can clog your pores and cause inflammation. Additionally, many of the vitamins and nutrients in fruits and vegetables contribute to healthy skin. For example, vitamin C helps to stimulate the production of collagen, which helps to prevent wrinkles.
That’s right, changing to a vegan diet can help improve your mood. Antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables can help to increase the production of neurons in your brain, which helps to reduce stress. Foods high in amino acids, such as leafy greens and seeds can also help produce extra serotonin, which helps increase feelings of happiness. Additionally, consuming less arachidonic acid, which is most commonly found in animal products, helps to reduce general inflammation. This helps improve your mood as when inflammation reaches your brain it presents as stress and anxiety.
By eating a vegan diet high in zinc and vitamins C, and E you can help slow the degeneration of your eyesight. Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are nutrients found in leafy greens can also help to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
A plant-based diet leads to a large increase in dietary fiber, as it is found in almost all whole foods. Increasing your fiber intake has many health benefits, including aiding digestion and preventing constipation. It also helps to lower cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugar levels. You should aim to eat between 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day for optimal health benefits.
Eating a vegan diet can be economical, allowing you to save money. For example, choosing to eat local, in-season produce can save you money. This is because farmer's markets often sell fruit and vegetables at a much lower cost than the supermarket. Additionally, many vegan staples such as grains, seeds, nuts, beans and legumes can be purchased in bulk and stored for months at a time. When compared to the costs of meat, this can become a healthy savings.
As you can see, there are many reasons to consider a vegan diet. Most reasons listed here relate to health, however, there are many more reasons regarding the environment and animal welfare. As plant-based diets become even more popular, so do the options for meat replacements and dining out, making it even easier to start your vegan diet journey.