A Vegan diet focuses on eating unprocessed and largely raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and legumes. Whether it's due to environmental concerns or your general health and well-being, there are plenty of reasons why adopting a plant-based diet can be an excellent choice in your daily life. In fact, many people choose to adopt such a diet even if they aren't interested in losing weight or cutting back on the meat they eat. Check out the top benefits of a vegan diet below.
1. Cancer prevention
A vegan diet can help to prevent cancer in several ways. First, plant-based foods are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals. Second, these diets are naturally low in unhealthy fats and high in fiber, which has been shown to protect against colon cancer. Third, a plant-based diet can help to lower inflammation throughout the body, which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. According to nutrition counseling expert Andy Bellatti, there is no question that people who eat more plant-based meals have less chronic disease than those who eat animal products at every meal.
2. Less risk of heart disease
A vegan diet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. This type of diet is also rich in antioxidants and fiber, which can further protect your heart. Plus, plant-based diets have been linked with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, another major risk factor for heart disease. Studies have shown that people who eat more plant-based foods often weigh less than those who consume meat and dairy products, meaning they are at less risk for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
3. Improved digestion
A vegan diet is rich in fiber, which is essential for good digestion. Fiber helps keep things moving through your digestive system and can even help relieve constipation. In addition, a plant-based diet includes many vitamins and minerals that are essential for gut health, such as vitamin C, magnesium, and iron. Vitamin C aids in the production of stomach acid and stomach enzymes that break down food, helping it move more quickly through the gastrointestinal tract. Magnesium also assists with muscle movement throughout the body, including those of the intestines. Iron is important for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to all parts of your body including those inside your intestines.
4. Weight loss
If you're looking to slim down, going vegan is a great way to do it. Numerous studies have shown that those who eat more plants and fewer animal products tend to be trimmer than those who don't. Plus, plant-based foods are generally lower in calories than their animal-based counterparts, so you can eat more without packing on the pounds. And because they often contain fiber, protein, and plenty of healthy fats like omega-3s, vegans usually get fuller faster. A study published in the journal Appetite found that when people go meatless for as little as six days per week, they consume fewer calories, lose weight, and also lower their blood pressure. Another study published in Public Health Nutrition found that dieters following a vegan diet lost considerably more weight than those following other diets.
5. Reduced inflammation
A vegan diet has been shown to help reduce inflammation throughout the body. This is beneficial because chronic inflammation can lead to a number of health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. One study showed that a plant-based diet was able to significantly reduce inflammation in just four weeks. The researchers found that people who followed a vegan diet had lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation. The study also noted higher levels of adiponectin, which is involved in regulating insulin and blood sugar levels. The reduction in CRP following a plant-based diet suggests that it may be a useful tool for preventing and treating inflammation associated with these diseases.
6. Natural cleanser
When you eat a vegan diet, you naturally consume more fiber. Fiber helps to move everything along your digestive tract, sweeping away toxins and waste products as it goes. This helps to keep your system clean and efficient. Many people report having less gas and bloating when they switch to a plant-based diet. Additionally, research has shown that the production of short chain fatty acids by microbes in the gut may help lower the pH in your intestines which can promote good health. One study found that a vegan diet improved constipation more than lacto-ovo vegetarian or omnivore diets. For example, citrus fruits are commonly used for washing hands because they're acidic enough to kill most bacteria and viruses but not so acidic that they will damage human skin.
7. Environmental sustainability
When you choose plant-based foods, you're automatically being more
sustainable. Plants require less water and land to produce than diets with animal products. They also generate fewer greenhouse gases. In other words, plant-based diets are environmentally friendly. And even if the only thing you change is your diet, it will have an impact on your carbon footprint. The benefits don't stop there though. Many experts believe that reducing meat consumption can actually help prevent or reverse climate change because livestock farming has such a large environmental impact.
8. Improved nutrient absorption
Plants are packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. When you eat a plant-based diet, your body is able to absorb these nutrients more effectively. This can lead to improved overall health, including better digestion and reduced inflammation. Due to the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, it's possible that the incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity may be reduced.
9. Decreased allergies
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, a vegan diet may be able to help. A 2017 study found that participants who ate a plant-based diet had decreased symptoms of hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Plus, they required less medication to control their allergies. Researchers believe that plant-based diets may help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can lead to allergy relief.
If you're considering making the switch to a vegan diet, know that you're not alone. Thousands of people have made the switch and are reaping the amazing benefits. A plant-based diet can improve your overall health, help you lose weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and more. Give it a try and see for yourself.