People are increasingly turning to vegan diets for health, animal welfare, and environmental reasons. A 2018 Gallup poll found that only 3% of Americans are vegan. It also noted that plant-based food sales are on the rise.
Vegan diets are high in nutrients and low in saturated fats. The diet may improve heart health, prevent cancer and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
People who eat only plant-based foods should be aware of how to get certain nutrients such as iron and calcium. These nutrients are often obtained from an omnivorous diet.
This article will take a closer look at veganism, including the health benefits and risks as well as what you should consider before starting it. We offer tips and recipe ideas to help you follow a vegan diet.
What’s a vegan diet?
Veganism means eating only plants. This diet prohibits all animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy. Honey is also a common food that people avoid. Veganism can be a lifestyle choice or a dietary choice for some.
Vegans may avoid soaps and clothes that contain animal parts, as well as soaps and other products that are made from animal skin. This lifestyle is known as a sustainable diet.
Vegetarian diets include a lot of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. A wide variety of these foods will give you a range of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein.
However, people following this diet need to be aware of the fact that they are missing key nutrients found in animal products. These nutrients include iron and protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, vitamin, and vitamin D.
Vegan vs. vegetarian
Vegetarians and vegans are different in that vegetarians don’t eat meat, but they do eat dairy products, eggs or both. Vegans do not eat any products containing animal-based ingredients.
Vegans are more restricted, so they will need to be more aware of where their nutrients come from in order to meet their daily nutritional needs.
Vegan diets can provide all the nutrients that a person requires and can avoid some of the potential risks associated with animal fats. There are many health benefits that vegans have been linked to, including the ones listed below.
Better heart health
Vegan diets can boost heart health in several ways.
A large-scale 2019 study by trusted Sources found that a higher intake of plant-based foods and a lower intake of animal food are linked to a lower risk of death and heart disease in adults.
Saturated fats are found in animal products, including meat, butter, and cheese. The American Heart Association’s (AHA)Trusted Source states that eating foods high in these fats can raise cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Plant foods also contain high fiber. This AHATrustedSource link is linked with better heart health. Plant-based foods and vegetables are rich in fiber.
People on a vegan diet tend to consume fewer calories than those who eat a Western diet. Moderate calorie intake can result in a lower body mass ( BMI), and a lower risk of obesity, which is a major risk factor for developing heart disease.
Lower cancer risk
A 2017 review found that a vegan diet can reduce one’s chance of developing cancer by 15%. This may be because plant foods are rich in vitamins, fiber, and phytochemicals, which are biologically active compounds found in plants that protect against cancer.
Mixed results have been found in research on the impact of diet on specific cancer risk factors.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer reports that red meat can be “probably carcinogenic”. They note that it has been linked to colorectal and prostate cancer, as well as pancreatic and pancreatic cancer.
According to the agency, processed meat may be carcinogenic and cause colorectal carcinoma.
These potential risks can be eliminated by removing red and processed meats.
A vegan diet is more likely to result in lower body weight (BMI), than people who follow other diets.
A 2015 study found that vegan diets are more effective in weight loss than semi-vegetarian, omnivorous, and pesco vegetarian diets. They also provide better macronutrients.
People can lose weight by replacing animal products with low-calorie, plant-based foods.
Important to remember is that excessive consumption of plant-based processed foods or high-fat plants can cause unhealthful weight gain.
Type 2 Diabetes at lower risk
A large 2019 review of trusted Sources found that a plant-based diet can lower the risk of type2 diabetes. This effect was linked to eating healthy plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, or legumes.