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Whether you believe it or not, the vegan diet is known for improving the health and well-being of those who are on it. But what exactly are the health benefits? Why is it better to eat vegetables and exclude meat and animal products? What is a healthy vegan diet? We will look at some of the reasons why a vegan lifestyle is healthier below.
A word of caution, if your vegan diet consists of fries, processed vegan foods like frozen pizza, sweet pies, or commercially canned soups every day (the list can go on and on), it is not called a healthy vegan diet.
What I mean by the healthy vegan diet, is a balanced diet with a good amount of vegetables, protein source products, and healthy oils.
Want to learn more?
Keep on reading 😉
So, What are the Health Benefits of Eating Vegan:
Fight Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
A vegan diet can help you control your blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. In fact, a vegan diet can reverse Type 2 diabetes in many cases. Additionally, it’s a super-easy way to lose weight and maintain that weight loss (1), (2).
Of course, losing weight is not just about what you eat, but how many calories you take in and burn out. But once again, if you don’t eat sweet pies and salty fries every day, chances are that your calories intake is pretty close to what is required to keep your weight under control.
I, myself, looooove homemade pastry! Freshly baked sourdough bread is one of my favourite treats! But it is all about moderation 😉 (>>let’s make it rule no. 1!)
Reduced Saturated and Trans Fats
Dairy products and meats contain a large amount of saturated fats. Saturated fat has been connected to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke (3).
However, not all fats are bad for you.
Avocado, seeds (pumpkin, chia, sesame, etc.), dark vegan chocolate (mmmm…), extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil – all are super healthy!
Just a quick reminder about the rule no. 1 😉 ↑
A diet high in fiber from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains leads to a healthier digestive system and helps prevent colon cancer (4).
Fiber-rich foods fill you up faster.
The dietician I consulted years ago allowed me to eat as many veggies a day as I wanted. It doesn’t matter if you eat them raw, steamed, or baked, they are still good for you and your body!
It is a bit different for the fruit though! And it is because, naturally, fruits have more sugar in them. Which make them higher in calories.
You still want to consume fruit but maybe limit it to 2 -4 a day.
Confession time: I usually have 2-3 bananas a day (1 with my oatmeal in the morning, another one as a snack at work on my morning break, and 1 with my protein shake in the afternoon). I must had been a monkey in my previous life 🙂
Antioxidants are nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. They protect your body against the damage of free radicals and many researchers also believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer.
You have probably heard of the term “superfood”. What they refer to when they talk about the superfoods is usually the high amount of antioxidants in them.
More Powerful Phytochemicals
Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals. These are elements in plants that can prevent cancer. They boost protective enzymes in your body to fight disease and the damage of free radicals.
Live Longer and Feel Better
Are vegans healthier?
Several studies have shown that people who follow a vegan diet live an average of three to six years longer. They have more energy and mental clarity too. And many vegan dieters believe they’ve never looked better. Hair and skin become healthier than ever before.
Do you need supplements if you are a vegan?
The answer is – it depends.
As many of us live a very busy life (work, family, sports, etc.), even with planning your meals in advance, you may still be at risk of certain nutritional deficiencies (5). Vitamin B12 is probably the one mentioned by many the most.
So, should vegans take vitamin B-12?
I do take 1-2 pills of vitamin B-12. There are foods fortified with it, but it is probably the only supplement that I would still recommend taking additionally.
As with many other aspects of our lives, one should always consult with their doctor to find out whether they have any nutrients deficiencies.
It might surprise someone, but before I became a vegan, I always had a low level of iron. As a kid, I had the vitamin B-complex injections every year.
Having been on a vegan diet for over 4 years now, my blood results are all normal.
So, once again, check with your doctor. That is my true advice for both vegans and non-vegans.
As you can see, there are numerous health benefits to a vegan diet.
However, that’s not the only reason that people choose to go vegan. In addition to other reasons, there are also a number of environmental issues to consider.
Let’s take a look a the benefits of going vegan and their impact on the environment. Shall we?