Benefits of Eating Vegan:
- For many people, the decision to transition to veganism isn’t taken lightly.
- That’s because going vegan means cutting out animal products like meat, eggs, dairy, and honey from your diet — an entire lifestyle change that can be hard to adapt to if you’re not prepared!
- But transitioning to a plant-based diet has been proven to bring some significant health benefits that make it worth the effort of making these changes.
- Here are 9 science-based health benefits of eating vegan that you may want to consider if you’re considering making the transition yourself. (more)
A lot of people are surprised to hear that going vegan is a simple and effective treatment for depression. Studies have shown that eliminating meat from your diet can alleviate symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and general mood swings.
A plant-based diet also helps increase serotonin levels (the hormone associated with happiness), decrease cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and improve overall outlook on life.
Not only will eating healthy lead to better mental health, but there’s strong evidence that vegans live longer than their meat-eating counterparts—another good reason to consider cutting out animal products entirely!
Supports Weight Loss
In Eating Vegan Plant-based diets are low in calories, while still being high in many nutrients. This can be great for your waistline and overall health.
Research suggests that vegan diets can help people lose weight. One study conducted by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found that vegetarians tend to weigh less than omnivores, even when they eat similar amounts of calories per day.
A review published in 2016 found a wide range of studies supporting a vegan diet’s ability to promote weight loss. While these studies have varying results, it seems likely that following a healthy vegan diet helps with weight loss compared to an unhealthy omnivore diet.
Cutting out meat products can also reduce cholesterol levels and improve blood pressure. These improvements may lead to healthier weights over time.
One recent study found that vegetarians who stick to a vegan diet are roughly three times less likely to die from heart disease than meat eaters.
The main reason seems to be that vegans tend to eat more nuts, fruits, and vegetables (particularly tomatoes, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and kale, and orange produce like carrots), fiber, folate, antioxidants like vitamins C and E and carotenoids (especially beta-carotene), zinc, iron—all nutrients associated with a reduced risk for heart disease.
All these plant foods are high in antioxidants which reduce oxidation in your body‘s cells; when oxidative damage is low you have lower levels of inflammation—which is directly linked to heart disease.
In Eating Vegan we’ve known for a long time that a plant-based diet can help lower cancer risk. People who eat more fruits and vegetables (especially cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) are less likely to develop common cancers such as breast, ovarian, colon and prostate.
But until recently, it was unclear whether vegans—who don’t eat any animal products at all—have an even lower risk than vegetarians.
New research is starting to provide some answers. One study in Cancer Epidemiology found that vegans had about a 34 percent lower risk of all cancers combined compared with meat eaters;
There were also links between vegan diets and reduced rates of cancer recurrence (after treatment) among survivors and reduced likelihood of developing certain types of tumors.
Research has shown that a plant-based diet, filled with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, is better for our waistlines.
A 2017 study published in Cell Metabolism showed that people on a vegan diet lost an average of 5.5 pounds more than those who stuck to a traditional healthy eating plan.
And their reduced risk of obesity was no fluke—vegans have been shown to have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and reduced fat levels long term compared to meat eaters.
One meta-analysis revealed that after two years, vegans were still 10 pounds lighter than omnivores—and not just because they passed on dessert! They also had significantly lower BMIs at four and six years, as well as less fat mass at two years.
Studies indicate that vegans are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Researchers believe that a vegan diet’s lower intake of saturated fat and higher intake of antioxidants may be contributing factors.
While plant proteins aren’t necessarily better for managing diabetes than animal proteins, people with diabetes who eat more meat and dairy products tend to have worse outcomes.
A study in Diabetes Care found that among people with type 2 diabetes, those who ate less meat had significantly fewer heart attacks and strokes.
New research shows that people who follow a plant-based diet are less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental disorders. In fact, vegans were found to be three times more likely to be free of any type of disorder than nonvegetarians.
It’s important to note that vegetarians aren’t necessarily vegans and vice versa; so it’s possible for nonvegetarians to eat a healthy diet and feel great—and it’s also possible for vegetarians/vegans to have unhealthy diets and not feel great. When it comes down to it, individuals should do what feels right for them.
If you’re curious about veganism but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, there are plenty of resources available to help you learn more about veganism and how to make an informed decision.
If you decide that a vegan lifestyle is best for your health and well-being, there are many health benefits associated with following a vegan diet. Here are seven science-backed benefits
Following a vegan diet can help keep your bones strong and healthy. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating foods rich in protein, including tofu, edamame, and lentils, reduces one’s risk for osteoporosis by as much as 30 percent.
Thanks to all those plant proteins, vegans tend to have denser bones than omnivores—that is, if they get enough calcium in their diets.
Vegans who avoid animal products should seek out non-dairy sources like collard greens and kale for optimum bone health.
Diets high in animal products produce more greenhouse gases, consume more water and land than vegan diets. They are also more energy-intensive to produce and require more fossil fuels for processing and transportation.
The carbon footprint of beef is particularly high, making it one of the worst foods for your impact on the environment.
Growing food uses natural resources like land, water, minerals and energy from fossil fuels—all resources that aren’t sustainable forever.
According to a 2011 study by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), switching to a vegan diet could save approximately 14 percent in carbon emissions—as much as driving 2,700 miles less per year or not using electricity for seven months out of a year!