A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals – no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose. Being vegan is not just a diet choice, it is a lifestyle that causes least amount of harm to your health body and mind, environment and animals. This is really the best way to live and the most ethical one. All life is equal and we as humans have no rights to destroy our planet and kill other species. Many vegans do feel passionately about animals, but its time for others to see that a vegan diet and lifestyle goes beyond ethics into the realms of nutrition, health and spirituality. Following a healthy, balanced vegan diet ensures a host of health benefits as well as prevention of the major diseases, since 90% of the deceases are caused by food and lifestyle choices.
All of the following nutritional benefits come from a vegan diet full of whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes. And the removal of toxic substances found only in animal meat.
- Reduced saturated fats. Dairy products and meats contain a large amount of saturated fats. By reducing the amount of saturated fats from your diet, you’ll improve your health tremendously, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.
- Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body. When you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body will burn muscle tissue. Don’t believe the low-carb diet fab. You need Carbohydrates to think.
- Fiber. A diet high in fiber (especially found in fruits and vegetables) leads to healthier bowel movements. Keeping you feeling light and healthy. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.
- Magnesium. Aiding in the absorption of calcium, magnesium is an often overlooked in importance to a healthy diet. Nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium.
- Potassium. Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
- Folate. This B vitamin is an important part of a healthy diet. Folate helps with cell repair, generating red and white blood cells, and metabolizing amino acids.
- Antioxidants. For protection against cell damage, antioxidants are one of the best ways to help your body. Many researchers also believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer. Its great for your skin.
- Vitamin C. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C also helps keep your gums healthy and helps your bruises heal faster. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
- Vitamin E. This powerful vitamin has benefits for your heart, skin, eyes, brain, and help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E.
- Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.
- Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most people eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. If you too roll your eyes every time you hear the absurd question, “Where do you get your protein?” you know that they don’t know where the best sources of heart healthy protein is. Beans, nuts, peas and lentils products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein.
Eating a healthy vegan diet has shown to prevent a number of diseases. Find out from the list below what you could potentially avoid just by switching to a healthy, balanced vegan way of eating.
- Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke, as your not clogging yourself with saturated fats and cholesterol.
- Cholesterol. Eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet. You read that correctly. If only the National Health System promoted a vegan diet. We could save thousands of lives and millions of dollars.
- Blood pressure. A diet rich in whole grains is beneficial to your health in many ways. A major advantage is lowering high blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also “easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association.”
- Prostate cancer. A major study showed that men in the early stages of prostate cancer who switched to a vegan diet either stopped the progress of the cancer or may have even reversed the illness.
- Colon cancer. Eating a diet consisting of whole grains, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce your chances of colon cancer.
- Breast cancer. Countries where women eat very little meat and animal products have a much lower rate of breast cancer than do the women in countries that consume more animal products. (See the China Study)
- Macular degeneration. Diets with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, can help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration. (Age related macular degeneration is a medical condition that results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field [the macular]because of damage to the retina.)
- Cataracts. Much the same way macular degeneration is headed off by a vegan diet, cataracts are also thought to be prevented through the intake of the same fruits and vegetables. Produce high in antioxidants are also believed to help prevent cataracts.
- Arthritis. Eliminating dairy consumption has long been connected with alleviating arthritis symptoms, but a new study indicates that a combination of gluten-free and vegan diet is very promising for improving the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
- Osteoporosis. Bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. With a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.High protein intake will leach the bones of calcium in attempts to digest the dense amino acids. This is especially important for women over 50.
In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, eating vegan also provides many physical benefits. Find out how a vegan diet makes your body stronger, more attractive, and more energetic.
- Body Mass Index. Several population studies show that a diet without meat leads to lower BMIs–usually an indicator of a healthy weight and lack of fat on the body. Which makes sense as there isn’t alot of fat in a carrot.
- Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues.
- Energy. When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher. Did you know that NFL tight-end Tony Gonzalez started eating vegan and gained energy–while playing football. Not quite the same, but I too went from sleeping 8 hours and feeling good, to sleeping 6 hours and feeling amazing.
- Healthy skin. The nuts and vitamins A and E from vegetables play a big role in healthy skin, so vegans will usually have good skin health. Many people who switch to a vegan diet will notice a remarkable reduction in blemishes as well.
- Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.
- Body odor. Eliminating dairy and red meat from the diet significantly reduces body odor. Going vegan means smelling better. Warning: Go easy on the garlic in the Hummus.
- Bad breath. Vegans frequently experience a reduction in bad breath. Imagine waking up in the morning and not having morning breath.
- Hair. Many who follow vegan diets report that their hair becomes stronger, has more body, and looks healthier.
- Nails. Healthy vegan diets are also responsible for much stronger, healthier nails. Due in part to the heart healthy fats in nuts such as Omega-2. You do not have to eat a ton of endangered Blue-Fin Tuna to get adequate Omega-3 in your diet. Nail health is said to be an indicator of overall health.
- PMS. When switching to a vegan diet, many women tell how PMS symptoms become much less intense or disappear altogether. The elimination of dairy is thought to help with those suffering with PMS. As diary contain hormones necessary for a young calf.
- Migraines. Migraine suffers who go on vegan diets often discover relief from their migraines.
- Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems. Vegans smell the roses.
In addition to the health benefits above, following a vegan lifestyle and diet also provides these benefits as well. From helping the environment to avoiding serious bacterial infections, learn other benefits to eating the vegan way below.
- Animals. Many people become vegan through concern at the way farmed animals are treated. Some object to the unnecessary ‘use’ and killing of animals – unnecessary as we do not need animal products in order to feed or clothe ourselves. Public awareness of the conditions of factory-farmed animals is gradually increasing and it is becoming more and more difficult to claim not to have at least some knowledge of the treatment they endure. Sentient, intelligent animals are often kept in cramped and filthy conditions where they cannot move around or perform their natural behaviours. At the same time, many suffer serious health problems and even death because they are selectively bred to grow or produce milk or eggs at a far greater rate than their bodies are capable of coping with. Regardless of how they were raised, all animals farmed for food meet the same fate at the slaughterhouse. This includes the millions of calves and male chicks who are killed every year as ‘waste products’ of milk and egg production and the animals farmed for their milk and eggs who are killed at a fraction of their natural lifespan. Choosing a vegan diet is a daily demonstration of compassion for all these creatures.
- Environment. Growing plants takes much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment. Switching to a plant-based diet is an effective way for an individual to reduce their eco-footprint. Vegan diets can produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat-based diets. Plant-based diets only require around one third of the land and water needed to produce a typical Western diet. Farmed animals consume much more protein, water and calories than they produce, so far greater quantities of crops and water are needed to produce animal ‘products’ to feed humans than are needed to feed people direct on a plant-based diet. With water and land becoming scarcer globally, world hunger increasing and the planet’s population rising, it is much more sustainable to eat plant foods direct than use up precious resources feeding farmed animals. Farming animals and growing their feed also contributes to other environmental problems such as deforestation, water pollution and land degradation.
- E. coli. E. coli comes from eating contaminated red meat and is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea. Young children, those with compromised immune systems, and elderly people can become extremely ill or die from E. coli. Eating vegan means completely avoiding the risk of E. coli infection.
- Salmonella. Another gastrointestinal illness from animal products, salmonella food poisoning is closely related to E. coli. The most frequent way people contract salmonella food poisoning is through contact with raw eggs or raw chicken meat from chickens infected with salmonella. Again, going vegan means eliminating this risk altogether.
- Mad cow disease. It’s safe to say that most people would want to avoid contracting a fatal, non-treatable disease. One way to make sure you don’t get Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is by not eating animals infected with mad cow disease.
- Global food supply. Feeding grain to animals meant as food sources reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Many people will go hungry while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Eating vegan ensures that you have removed yourself from the participation of this imbalance.
- Global Energy supply. Chicken meat production consumes energy in a 4:1 ratio and beef cattle production requires an energy input to protein output ratio of 54:1.
- Water supply. Carnivorous diet requires far greater quantities of water than a vegan diet. Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food. Raising broiler chickens takes 3,500 liters of water to make a kilogram of meat.
- Hormone consumption. Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.
What more can be said? Choosing to live a life free from animal products means choosing a path that is kinder to people, animals and the environment. In fact, there are so many good reasons to reject meat, eggs and dairy products and so many delicious animal free alternatives that the real question is not ‘why vegan?’ but ‘why not?’. All about vegan lifestyle check http://www.guidetoveganliving.org.uk/.