The vegan diet is a healthy, natural way of eating that has been around for centuries. It’s not new but it seems to be gaining popularity in recent years as more people are becoming aware of its health benefits. This article will discuss some of these health benefits and how they can benefit you if you adopt this lifestyle.
At the core of a vegan diet, it excludes all animal and animal-derived products. This includes all meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
There are a number of physical health benefits of the vegan diet as well non-physical benefits. We will explore these in greater detail below.
What are the Real Health Benefits to Going Vegan?
There are a number of positive health benefits that the vegan diet has on an individual’s health. As we are all unique, the health benefits will be different for each person, however, we have collated some of the most common health benefits for you below;
According to the American Heart Association, eating foods that contain high saturated fats, such as those that are offered by meat and dairy can raise cholesterol levels.
High levels of cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Alternatively, plant-based foods are high in fiber, which are linked with better heart health. Plant-based products, in general, are lower in calories than meat and dairy products.
A moderate calorie intake can lead to a lower body mass index and a reduced risk of obesity, a major risk factor for heart disease.
According to a 2017 review, eating a vegan diet may reduce a person’s risk of cancer by 15%.
The weight-loss benefits of going vegan have been well documented. In one meta-analysis published in 2018 researchers found that vegans were more likely to lose weight compared to non-vegans.
This difference was most pronounced among overweight individuals who had not previously tried to change their lifestyle habits.
Other studies have shown similar findings. For example, a 2016 systematic review concluded that vegans tend to weigh less than omnivores because they eat fewer calories overall, as discussed above.
Lower Blood Pressure
Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects approximately 50 million Americans.
High blood pressure can cause damage to many organs including the brain, eyes, kidneys, heart, arteries, veins, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach, intestines, skin, bones, muscles, nerves, and reproductive system.
Eating a vegan diet may help lower your blood pressure.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, can increase the risk for health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. (everydayhealth.com)
Reduce Risk of Cancer
Decades of research suggest that the best diet for cancer prevention is veganism.
A vegan diet can help your heart health, studies have proved that a lower in animal products reduces the risk of heart disease
Eating less saturated fat can help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.
A plant-based diet is rich in fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full longer so that it’s easier to avoid overeating or eating too much at one time.
The Mental Benefits of Going Vegan
Alongside the numerous physical health benefits of a vegan diet, there are also a number of non-physical benefits. The most cited mental benefits of going vegan are the following;
Aleviating a Feeling of Guilt
A number of vegans have claimed that eating a vegan diet has improved their mental health as they do not feel the anxiety and guilt of eating and benefiting from animal products
There have been reports of people actually coming off depression medication after adopting a vegan diet.
Although there is limited scientific research to support this at this time, it is not a leap that once you stop eating animal-derived products, which are harder for the body to digest, hormones rebalance and support your mental health.
People converting to a vegan diet generally report feeling happier in themselves, which is probably due to a combination of the above two mental health benefits combined with the physical benefits.
With these elements combined, it is not surprising that people report generally feeling ‘better’, but in a non-quantifiable way, when eating a vegan diet.
What about You? Have you transitioned onto a vegan diet or a vegan lifestyle? How has it impacted your physical health or mental health? Why not share what you have found the benefits to be in the comments below, this may help somebody else on their vegan journey.
Since writing this article there have been a number of questions that have been asked by our readers, although we reply to these individually, we thought we would share them here, with answers so everybody can benefit.
If you have a burning question about being or becoming a vegan, drop a comment below or send us a direct message and we will endeavor to answer all of your vegan questions.
Final Thoughts: Does the Vegan Diet have any Health Benefits?
One thing is clear: as the global popularity of veganism gathers pace – the number of US vegans increased by 600% between 2014 and 2017 – women are way ahead. (bbc.com) A vegan diet is not only better for your health than traditional meat-based diets but also more environmentally friendly.