The vegan diet & its benefits

The vegan diet today is one of the most popular diet plans across the globe. People the world over are choosing to adopt this plant-based diet, for varied reasons. While some do it in an effort to protect animals, others do it for its lifestyle and health benefits. Whatever the reason may be, adopting a vegan diet can most definitely be a good thing. But if you’re new to this term, allow us to explain.

Vegan Meal

Going vegan – what does it mean?

You’ll best understand this diet by understanding what ‘veganism’ is. Essentially, it’s a way of living that cuts out animal cruelty in every way, be it in fashion, food or even beauty. What this means is that you’re going to be staying away from all kinds of animal products. In terms of food, this includes eggs, meat and even dairy. Although dairy products don’t see the ruthless killing of animals, consuming them does mean that you’re taking away food sources from the animal’s young.

So, when you’re on a vegan diet, you’re going to be consuming plant-based food. Think vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits. There are different kinds of vegan diets, too. While some focus on starch-based foods, there are others that are all about whole-food. Whatever variation you choose to follow, research does suggest that a vegan diet has its own benefits.

What are its benefits?

Considering making the switch? Then you ought to know all about whether this diet is actually good for you. Provided you’re eating well-balanced meals and eating them mindfully, there are a couple of perks to the vegan diet. Here are a few of them:-

1) Potential weight loss

Don’t be surprised! A vegan diet comprises food items that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When you eat such nutrient-rich foods, you’re bound to feel fuller for longer. You’re also more mindful of what you can eat and what you cannot, so you’re also going to be eating the right kinds of food, all of which is great if you’re looking at losing some weight. However, if your vegan diet includes processed food that’s filled with unhealthy fat, you could also gain weight just as easily.

2) Reduced cholesterol levels

Cholesterol comes from the food we eat. More specifically, it comes from meat, eggs, milk and other such products. When you’re following a vegan diet, you’re eating plant-based foods. This kind of a diet tends to create a lowered cholesterol level, or at least maintains those good cholesterol levels.

3) Boosts heart health

Research and studies say that those on a vegan diet have about 42% less chance of being afflicted with a heart disease than those who aren’t on such a diet. Many other reports have even suggested that a vegan diet helps reduce blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.

4) Reduces the symptoms of arthritis

Those who suffer from arthritis will definitely benefit from this diet. Observational studies hint that a vegan diet may help reduce arthritis symptoms like morning stiffness, swellings in the joints as well as general pain and discomfort.

5) Reduces the risk of cancer

Back in 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that red meat was a ‘Group 2 carcinogen’. What this means is that red meat is a probable cause of cancer in humans. Eating even little portions of red meat could put you at risk. A geochemist, Professor Jane Plant, also believes that dairy is a carcinogen and says that her own switch to a plant-based diet helped her put her own cancer into remission, twice.

6) Better skin

Yes, a vegan diet might just leave you with glowing, more radiant skin! Lots of studies are now proving that skin problems such as acne, might be caused due to the consumption of dairy products, because most such products today are treated with artificial hormones. And this is bad news for your system! We all know the effects of raging hormones on our skin by now. So, switching to a vegan diet, wherein you avoid dairy, can give you healthier skin.

Going vegan is no easy task. But it’s not impossible, either! Stick to your beliefs, eat what you should and stay away from what you shouldn’t. Consider signing up for a yoga class to help you cope with this new change in your lifestyle, or have regular sessions with your nutritionist, where you can tell them all about your daily experiences. And remember – patience is key!

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-Sanjana Subramanian

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