As per the latest statistics published by the United Nations, out of the 7.9 billion people in the world, almost 80 million are vegan. That means more than 10% of the world population survives entirely on a vegan diet – all day, every day. That is a staggering number, considering the difficulty of veganism, as accounted for by many existing vegans. So why do these people completely forgo animal products and fully focus on consuming a plant-based diet?
There has to be a strong reason behind such a massive number of people religiously following this particular diet. The focus of this article is to answer this very question. By the end of this article, we believe you will have a firm idea of what veganism truly is and the many benefits associated with it.
What Is Veganism?
According to the definition issued by the renowned healthcare website healthline.com, “veganism is a lifestyle that excludes the consumption of all animal products and attempts to limit the exploitation of animals as much as possible.”. What this means is vegans only stick to a plant-based diet and avoid consumption of animals and all other forms of animal products. Dairy, eggs, cheese – all are avoided.
Visit pickyeaterblog.com for a detailed overview of veganism and the particular diets that adhere to it. Here, you can find a large number of articles and blog posts that you can take as a form of reference for your dietary aim. You can also get access to numerous recipes for dishes of your choice. Ranging from the most delicious to the most healthy – the site contains it all.
What Are the Benefits of a Plant-based Diet?
As mentioned above, there are many advantages of a plant-based diet. The following sections explain some of the key benefits, which we believe can serve as a reference for anyone willing to establish a reason for switching to a regular, vegan diet shortly.
Inflammation is induced by leukocytes or white blood cells defending against intruders, which might be foreign items like splinters, irritations like allergies, or pathogens like viruses and bacteria. Autoimmune illnesses occur when the immune system destroys normal, healthy tissue in the body. Experts believe that an excessive inflammatory response contributes to chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiac issues.
The essential nutrients found in plants help reduce inflammation in the human body. The antioxidants and phytochemicals that help in boosting the body’s immune system traverse through the many capillaries and detoxify or neutralize the toxins originating from processed food, pollution, viruses, bacteria, and many more.
Regardless of their nature and severity, healthy tissues can be damaged if inflammations are left unattended. Such cases can lead to dangerous diseases like arthritis or cancer. A plant-based diet can help in this regard as it takes away a few issues that cause these diseases in the first place.
Furthermore, almost all plant-based food items contain a lot of flavonoids and carotenoids. These are phytonutrients that can effectively destroy DNA-damaging free radicals inside the cells of the body. Thus, even doctors prescribe the consumption of green vegetables – both to healthy and ailing individuals.
Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Maintaining a healthy heart is a major concern for people all around the world – and quite rightfully so. Who wants a chronic heart condition in the first place? Creating a detailed food plan for a balanced diet is essential to keep your heart healthy and free of complications.
Plant-based food tends to contain zero dietary cholesterol, small quantities of saturated fat, and a whole lot of fiber – all of which are ideal for a healthy heart. On the contrary, non-vegan food like eggs, cheese, and meat contain a significant amount of saturated fat and cholesterol, leading to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Such conditions, if left untreated, can cause severe complications down the line and may even lead to death.
However, simply avoiding meat is not enough. To maintain the health of your heart on a plant-based diet, avoid processed products, such as white bread and white rice that are low in nutritional content and have a high glycemic index. This raises your chances of having high blood sugar levels and a raised appetite. Similarly, fruits are preferable to fruit juice, even the most naturally mixed ones ( processing fruit for juices leads to loss of vitamins and minerals during processing).
According to a journal published in 2018, coronary heart diseases can effectively be reversed after prolonged consumption of plant-based food. Statistics showed that a vegetarian diet could lower the risk of heart ailments by 40 percent. These reasons alone make a plant-based diet a necessity for health concerned individuals.
Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Among the many things that cause diabetes, poultry and red meat are considered to be some of the biggest contributors. That is because these items contain a large concentration of heme iron, which impedes insulin extraction in the liver.
From 1993 to 1998, certain research results were published that brought some startling health issues into the limelight. The research included more than 60,000 adults – all within the age range of 45 to 74. Their health records were analyzed, stretching back to over ten years into the past. Average consumption of red meat, and any other forms of similar products containing heme iron, were taken into consideration.
Volunteers who had consumed an excessive amount of red meat showcased a 23% increased chance of getting diabetes, while those who had done the same with poultry showed a 15% chance. These numbers are astonishing as a majority of the world population live on such food products.
On the contrary, none of the aforementioned conditions appears when an individual maintains a strictly plant-based diet. Vegan diets have been proven to be key in preventing kidney diseases among patients with type 2 diabetes. Such diets are also known to help reverse type 2 diabetes itself. Patients suffering from chronic and irreversible kidney problems are often prone to fatality. Plant-based diets effectively help in battling such dire conditions.
Helps in Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Several studies were carried out in the UK during the 2000s that analyzed the life and diet of a group of healthy adults, including both men and women. The researchers mainly focused on the amount of meat, fish, and vegetables the participants consumed over five years.
The results were tantalizing as it was discovered that the individuals who consumed the least amount of meat were also the ones who gained the least amount of weight. Anyone who changed their diet from meat-based to fish-based or from fish-based to a vegetarian diet experienced standard levels of weight gain. The more green you go, the higher the chances of not falling prey to obesity.
Furthermore, maintaining a proper weight is crucial in the fight against deadly diseases like cancer. The only thing more essential than keeping a healthy weight when it comes to cancer prevention is not smoking. This is because being overweight contributes to hormonal imbalance and inflammation.
Obesity increases the chance of 12 distinct forms of cancer, including postmenopausal breast, colorectal, kidney, pancreatic, esophageal, and uterine cancer. Thus, the importance of a plant-based diet can never be overstated – simply because of the role it plays in maintaining a healthy weight.
Improves the Health of the Alimentary Canal
Plant-based diets help fight against certain harmful microorganisms, but they are also a source of beneficial bacteria inside the body. These bacteria promote the gut’s overall health by helping with digestion and keeping the harmful ones in control. Furthermore, they multiply to such an extent that the “bad” ones do not get space to multiply profusely and build colonies.
When the gut or alimentary canal is healthy, most other metabolism reactions get a platform to continue sustaining the levels required by the body to stay healthy. This leads to healthy bowel movements, a resolute immune system, and a suitable level of hormone concentration in the body. Know that keeping the gut healthy is extremely important and is one of the key aspects healthcare professionals always stress upon.
A lot of people get disheartened by the thought of consuming green vegetables. However, the many associated health benefits simply can not be ignored. Some of the most delicious dishes in the world are completely vegan. Just skim through a vegan cookbook, and you would surely be amazed at the variety of dishes prepared using plant-based ingredients only.
Hence, there seems to be no reason to keep ignoring vegan food. After all, health is wealth, and a plant-based diet goes a long way towards ensuring just that.