A vegan diet, also called as plant-based diet excludes all animal products. This includes meat, eggs, honey, dairy, and gelatin. Vegan diets are very well-known to help people lose weight. However, when people follow it correctly, a vegan diet also offers an additional health benefits.
Here are 6 health-based benefits of vegan diets.
1. A Vegan Diet Benefits Us By Providing Certain Nutrients
If you switch to a vegan diet from a typical Western diet, it might help you live longer. Vegan diets tend to provide fiber, magnesium, folate, phytochemicals, and vitamins A, C and E. On the other hand, poorly planned vegan diets may provide insufficient amounts of calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, iron, iodine, and vitamins B-12 and D.
Therefore, it’s necessary to stay away from nutrient-poor, fast-food vegan options. Rather, plan your diet around nutrient-rich whole plants and fortified foods. You may also want to consider supplements like vitamin B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and protein.
2. Helps You To Lose Weight
Many observational researches including 2015 study reported that vegan diets were more effective for shedding excess weight than omnivorous, semi-vegetarian, and pesco-vegetarian diets. Additionally it is better for providing macronutrients.
An increasing number of people are turning to plant-based diets. Because people on plant-based diet are more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those following other diets.
Many animal foods are rich in calories and fat. Therefore altering these with low calorie vegan diet can help people maintain their weight.
It is also important to observe, that eating lots of high fat plant-based foods can lead to unhealthful weight gain.
3. Reduced Risk Of Diabetes
More and more research is finding that going vegan could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A recent study, which included than 2,000 adults, found that individuals who eat healthful plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes over the course of 20 years reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 60 percent more than those who didn’t.
4. Lowered Risk of Heart Disease
The vegan diet benefits us by boosting heart health in numerous ways. Diets that are high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, vegetable oils, and whole grain are linked with lower risk of heart disease development.
A 2019 study has associated a lower intake of animal foods and higher intake of plant-based foods shows a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death in adults.
Animal products including meat, butter and cheese contains saturated fats. As per American Heart Association (AHA), eating foods that contain saturated fats raises cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. In general, vegetable oils are more advantageous than animal fat because of their content of vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and α-linolenic acid.
5. A Vegan Diet Lowers Cancer Risk
In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated red meat a Group 2 carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer in humans. And a lot of studies indicate that vegans have a lower risk of various cancers, because of nutrient intake and due to secondary effects. For example, obesity is an important factor in cancer risk and because of lower BMI of vegans, they have lower risk of cancer.
Plant-based diets have been specified as lowering the risk of mouth, esophagus, lung, and stomach cancers.
6. Cognitive Benefits
Many studies have found that consuming a vegan diet showed mild or moderate improvements when patients suffered with migraine, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. These studies are confounded by small size sample and by not accounting for the gluten content of the vegan diet.
Researchers are searching for specific nutrients which show some signs that vegan diets can be advantageous for cognition and mental health.
Intake of phytochemicals, is linked with beneficial effects on mental health.
Nutrients to consider on a vegan diet
A vegan diet may be low in some sources of nutrients. Therefore, people need to plan their diet accordingly to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Key nutrients that people should take care are vitamin B-12 and D, iron, calcium. Other nutrients that should be taken care of are omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and iodine as they may be low in a vegan diet.
People may also wish to take an advice from a dietitian or from a doctor for adopting a vegan diet, especially if they have any health conditions.