People are becoming more concerned about their health, animal welfare, and the environment, so vegan diets are becoming more common. About 3% of Americans are fully vegan, and plant-based food sales are rising, making healthy food pill companies rampant.
Vegetarian diets are usually high in vegetables and low in saturated fats. From US-Reviews, a popular review site in the US, we realized that eating this way improves heart health, protects against cancer, and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
People who consume only plant-based foods, on the other hand, should be more conscious of how to get those nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and vitamin B-12, that are typically found in an omnivorous diet.
What is a vegan diet?
A vegan diet necessitates the consumption of only plant-based foods. Many people who follow this diet abstain from all animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs. Veganism is a dietary option for some and a lifestyle choice for others.
People who follow this diet should make sure they get essential nutrients that they usually get from animal products. Calcium, protein, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12 are among these nutrients.
Benefits of Vegan Diets
According to research, vegan diets can satisfy all of a person’s nutritional needs while also eliminating some of the risks associated with unhealthy animal fats. Veganism has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including the ones mentioned below.
1. Better heart health
Vegan diets are beneficial to the heart in several ways. According to a large-scale 2019 study, adults who consume more plant-based foods and consume fewer animal foods have a lower risk of heart disease and death.
Animal products, such as meat, cheese, and butter, are the main sources of saturated fats in the diet. The American Heart Association (AHA) claims that eating foods high in these fats raises cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Plant foods are also rich in fiber, which the American Heart Association associates with better heart health. Plant-based vegetables and grains are better fiber sources than animal products, which contain little or no fiber.
Furthermore, people who follow a vegan diet consume fewer calories than those who follow a conventional Western diet. Moderate calorie consumption can lead to a lower BMI and a lower risk of obesity, a major risk factor for heart disease.
2. Reduced cancer risk
According to a 2017 report, eating a vegan diet can lower a person’s cancer risk by 15%. This advantage may be attributed to the fact that plant foods are high in fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals, which are biologically active compounds found in plants that can help prevent cancer.
The effect of diet on the risk of certain cancers has yielded mixed results in research.
On the other hand, red meat is “probably carcinogenic,” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, with research linking it to colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Processed meat is also carcinogenic and can cause colorectal cancer, according to the department.
You can avoid these risks by staying away from red and processed meats in the diet.
3. Loss of weight
People who follow a vegan diet tend to have a lower BMI than those who follow other diets. Vegan diets were more effective for weight loss than omnivorous, semi-vegetarian, and pesco-vegetarian diets and suitable for providing macronutrients. Since many animal foods are high in fat and calories, substituting low-calorie plant-based foods can help people lose weight.
However, it is important to note that eating lots of processed or high fat plant-based foods – which some people refer to as a fast-food vegan diet – can lead to unhealthful weight gain.
Nutrients to Consider When on a Vegan Diet
Key nutrients that may be low in a vegan diet include:
- Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 is mainly found in animal products. It protects the nerves and red blood cells. Plant-based sources of this vitamin include fortified cereals and plant milk, nutritional yeast, and yeast spreads. Read more about vegan sources of vitamin B-12.
- Iron: Iron is essential for maintaining health. Beans and dark leafy greens are good dietary sources of protein. Look into foods rich in iron.
- Calcium: Calcium is necessary for bone health. In the absence of dairy products, tofu, tahini, and greens may help keep the calcium levels up.
- Vitamins D: Some studies have found that a link between cancer and vitamin D deficiency. Taking vitamin D supplements and spending time in the sun helps keep levels stable.
The three kinds of omega-3 fatty acids are important for cardiovascular, eye, and brain health; they are EPA, DHA, and ALA. Seaweeds and algae are the only EPA and DHA plant sources, while flaxseeds and walnuts are rich in ALA.