Veganism has been around for thousands of years, but it is now more popular than ever thanks to many studies proving its advantages for the body, mind, and overall health. Following a plant-based diet is now far beyond just being a weight loss approach and it is now a lifestyle for so many people around the world. Many healthcare practitioners who recommend this diet have seen incredible results for their patients, and many professional athletes and sportspeople have made the switch to improve their performance, speed up recovery, and increase their longevity. With so many people who have improved their quality of life after going vegan, it is very important to find out exactly what the advantages are.
To help everyone understand the advantages of veganism, here is the most valuable information about the benefits of switching to a plant-based diet.
1. Cutting Out Meat Helps to Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is recognized to be the number one cause of many health issues. According to the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine, hypertension can increase the risk of stroke and of developing serious heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The advice found at All About Greens point out that switching to a plant-based diet can make a huge difference as it will help to reduce your blood pressure thereby lowering the risk of developing those conditions compared to that of people who still follow an omnivorous diet. Other factors that can contribute to high blood pressure include smoking, alcohol consumption, and the use of certain drugs and medications. Eat a plant-based diet as part of an overall healthy lifestyle and you will be able to keep your blood pressure in check.
2. A Plant Based Diet Can Help to Keep Your Heart Healthy
The number of people developing heart disease has increased significantly and alarmingly in the last few decades, particularly in the developed world. One of the main reasons for this is the increasing amount of meat in people’s daily diet. It is a social-economic trend that as people and countries become wealthier, they eat more meat, and so this problem is also starting to emerge in developing countries as well. Meat contains high levels of saturated fat, which can contribute to heart-related diseases so switching to a purely plant-based diet will really be doing your ticker a favor. The Journal of the American Heart Association has published a study in August 2019 indicating that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 16% and the rate of dying from it by 31%. But it’s also important that the plant-based foods you are consuming are healthy options because not all vegan food necessarily is. French fries are usually completely animal-product-free, but eating them regularly is not going to help keep your heart healthy.
3. Going Vegan Can Help to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
There is a significant link between your diet and type 2 diabetes, in which weight plays an important role because fat tissues make our cells more resistant to insulin. PLoS Medicine has published a study showing that type 2 diabetes can be reduced by 34% with a healthy plant-based diet. This is mainly because plant-based foods contain significantly less saturated fats than animal foods, which is the number one factor that affects cholesterol levels and increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For that reason, a plant-based diet can also benefit those who are trying to manage their existing diabetes thanks to its high concentration of fiber and plant compounds.
4. Switching to Veganism Can Help You to Manage Your Weight
Although losing weight isn’t always the first priority when people choose a plant-based diet, it is often a by-product thanks to the replacement of certain foods. In fact, according to Diabetes Care, there is often a significant difference in body mass index (BMI) between non-meat eaters and meat-eaters. Vegan participants had an average BMI of 23.6 while it was 28.8 for nonvegetarians. One reason for the weight loss is that whole grains and veggies are relatively low in calories while containing more antioxidants and fiber, which helps prolong fullness. If you are looking for a way to manage your healthy weight, a vegan diet can be your way to go.
5. It Can Possibly Help to Decrease Your Risk of Some Cancers
Making any definitive claims about a plant-based diet’s effectiveness in preventing something as serious as cancer should always be done with significant caveats. Cancer is an incredibly complex disease and there are various factors that lead to its development. There are studies which lead to various conclusions, but in terms of a vegan diet, consuming more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals can certainly do you more good than harm. A 2012 meta-analysis in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism found that non-vegetarians have an 18% higher risk of developing cancers than people who follow a meat-free diet but more research is obviously needed. These results may also be important for people who have previously had cancer as they may mean a lower chance of recurrence.
6. Plant Based Diets Can Help to Keep Your Brain Strong
Not only does a plant-based diet help your physical health, but it can also benefit your mental health too. There have been various studies that prove its effective role in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive decline issues. This may be in part because plant foods are rich in polyphenols, which are believed to be able to reverse cognitive decline. It is very important to note that our understanding of cognitive decline is still in its infancy but anything that can potentially give your brain a boost is definitely worth trying.
While many diet trends come and go, plant-based diets are definitely here to stay. You don’t have to switch to a plant-based diet all at once, just try to eat a few more veggies and a little less meat each week and you will soon see improvements in your health and quality of life.