The problem with discussing veganism and health benefits is that the discussion always relies on generalizations: not all vegans have the same diet and it is totally possible to be healthy, or awfully unhealthy, in the same ways that omnivores are. We’re sure that every vegan has been asked about where they find high-quality vegan proteins but today, we’re going to take you through some of the most common benefits of being a vegan, if you do it right!
Vegans are defined by the fact that they only eat plant-based foods. The most obvious benefit of this is a huge boost in fiber – the non-digestible ruffage found in the bulk of plant foods. Dietary fiber is a key nutrient and is linked to many health markers such as the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and colorectal cancer.
If you’re trying to lose weight, or eat lots and control your weight, a vegan diet can be a great help. Due to the high concentration of dietary fiber and the low-calorie content, it is possible to burn fat on a relatively large volume of plant foods. For example, 1000 calories of broccoli is over 3 kilograms of food, whereas the only 400g of fried chicken would be necessary for these same calories – with none of the nutritional quality!
Vegan diets that rely primarily on whole foods and produce can allow for huge amounts of food to be eaten with only a small calorie intake. All things being equal, you want to eat as much food as possible for your calories, to ensure that you are able to consume as many nutrients as possible and give yourself the best nutritional support.
Another great benefit of eating more plant foods is that they are generally very nutrient-dense, especially in relation to their calorie content. Plant foods such as kale, spinach, and berries are all high in key vitamins and minerals, but low in calories, making them a great way to improve health without gaining weight. This is also true of other forms of plant foods like legumes, nuts, and seeds, which contain essential nutrients and combat health risks.
Phytonutrients refer to the common nutrients found only in plant foods, and they have some huge benefits to health. A vegan diet is likely to be very high in these nutrients and can contribute to reduced inflammation, the risk of cell damage and reduce the negative effects of aging.
In many ways, a vegan or vegetarian diet can contribute heavily to improving some of the most common health problems in our culture today. More plant foods mean decreased risk of obesity, heart problems, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia – all of which are serious causes of death. Switching to a vegan diet – or even a “flexitarian” diet – can do amazing things for your health, above and beyond improved weight loss.
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