Vegan diets have been around for ages, and have really begun to grow in popularity the last five to ten years. There is a lot of controversy surrounding those who choose to eliminate animal products from their diet, from doctors and “meat-eaters” alike. However, there are several proven amazing health benefits of a vegan diet. Even if you aren’t willing to completely cut animal products out of your diet, consider taking a few days a week to eat plant-based.
One major health benefit of a vegan or plant-based diet is that it improves physical fitness and appearance. Energy levels often spike after eliminating animal products which is helpful in both elongating workouts and increasing the intensity. It has also been found that vegans tend to have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) and a lower body weight in general. This is because vegan diets eliminate a lot of unhealthy foods full of saturated fat, sugar and other harmful ingredients. Plant based diets are also great for healthy hair, skin and nails. Vegetables are typically high in Vitamins A and E (among other crucial nutrients), which promote stronger hair and nails as well as clearer skin.
Plant-based diets are also linked to a lower risk of a number of health conditions and diseases. By eating healthy forms of protein like nuts, beans and whole-grains, while simultaneously cutting out more unhealthy forms of protein like dairy and red meat, your cardiovascular health will improve tremendously. Without all of the saturated fat and cholesterol that meat and dairy products contain, your heart will be healthier and able to function properly longer. In fact, by eliminating animal products you will also completely eliminate any dietary cholesterol you’ve been consuming. Vegan diets can also improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as well as prevent osteoporosis.
There are also several forms of cancer including breast, colon and prostate, that can be avoided with a vegan diet. It has been found that countries who consume more animal products have higher rates of breast cancer and vice versa. Another study has shown that those in the early stages of prostate cancer have stopped the progression or even reversed the effects altogether by switching to a vegan diet.
In addition to all of the amazing health benefits a vegan diet provides, it is also better for the environment, and of course the animals too. The meat, egg and dairy industries are arguably some of the most inhumane human practices. Animal agriculture is also very hard on the planet and its resources. Animal farming currently consumes about 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater.
When eating vegan, its important to still balance your nutrition. A healthy variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains will provide you all of the nutrients you need while eliminating unnecessary and unhealthy food groups. While a plant-based diet isn’t for everyone, everyone can benefit from eating less animal products and more whole foods.