When planned appropriately, vegan diets have many health benefits. Numerous studies have shown that a purely plant-based diet provides a positive effect on overall health. Below are a few of the benefits of a vegan diet.
Vegan diets tend to reduce cholesterol levels. Consuming fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease. A vegan diet may provide more of some nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and E, but keep in mind you may not get enough vitamin B12. Doctors may recommend B12 supplements for people who adopt vegan diets.
Vegan diets can help people who want to lose weight. This is perhaps because vegan diets by their nature tend to cause a person to take in fewer calories. Just remember that a vegan diet isn’t an automatic ticket to weight loss—there are still a few recommendations for how to lose weight on a vegan diet plan. To successfully lose weight, vegans must still control their portions, get enough protein, and avoid processed or sugary foods.
Protection from Certain Kinds of Cancer
Vegan diets are high in fiber, and eating more fiber—especially legumes—may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. According to a study by the Health and Social Surveys Research Group at University College London, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables might lower the risk of developing cancer by up to 15%. Vegans don’t eat meat, so they naturally ingest less of the cancer-linked substances present in processed meats and in meats cooked at high temperatures.
Lowers Blood Sugar and Improves Kidney Function
Vegans seem to have lower blood sugar and less insulin resistance than people who eat standard Western diets. Some studies show that a vegan diet can even relieve the sharp, burning pain—called systemic distal polyneuropathy—that some diabetic patients experience.
Reduces Arthritis Pain
A study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis found that participants who consumed a probiotic, raw food vegan diet had improvements in joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. In another study of arthritic patients, the people assigned a vegan diet felt more energetic and reported better overall functioning than those who made no dietary changes.
Whether you’re convinced of the benefits of a vegan diet or you prefer to consider a more moderate approach to changing your diet by retaining fish and dairy, be sure to do your research and consult your doctor before you start any new diet program. Eliminating all animal products from what you eat means you must carefully decide how to get enough protein, iron, essential fats, and Vitamin B12 in your diet, among other things.