A few years back, USA Today reported that about 50 per cent of Americans are trying to improve their healthy eating habits by reducing their meat consumption, while about one in five students are vegan, vegetarian or trying to cut meat intake. Many people from different backgrounds are adopting the vegan lifestyle, and it seems to be the rage of the moment. But why are people jumping on the vegan train?
Over the years, there have been arguments and counterarguments over the ills of the meat industry and the chronic diseases that could develop as a result of meat consumption, making the switch to vegan is not only considered to be a wise health decision but also an ethical one. If you so love the animals why then eat them? Well, if you are still not sure of why you should go vegan, here are some of the reasons why a vegan diet is right for you.
Lowers the risk of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes
Studies have shown that animal-based foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat are the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases. However, you can prevent this by eating a vegan diet high in legumes, vegetables and fruits. This combination of healthy food delivers a high amount of potassium and low fibre which helps reduce the chances of developing heart attacks and stroke, diseases considered to be causing an alarming rate of death.
By feeding his patients a low-fat vegan diet, Dr Caldwell Esselstyne was able to treat severe cases of cardiovascular diseases. Studies have also shown that a low-fat vegan diet can improve the symptoms and even reverse type 2 diabetes. For more information about type 2 diabetes read this article.
Protects against cancer and other chronic diseases
A vegan diet is rich in many nutritious foods that provide the body antioxidants and phytonutrients that help combat free radicals that cause cell deterioration and inflammation which can lead to cancer and many other chronic diseases. Research also shows that maintaining a vegan diet does not only decreases the risk of high cholesterol and Alzheimer’s but also contribute to lowering high blood pressure and many others.
According to the World Health Organization, processed meat is a proven carcinogen, and red meat is a probable cancer-causing agent. There have also been studies carried out by research institutes in Europe and China linking cancer with the consumption of animal-based food products. Also, often when we go to see our doctors, they advise us to reduce the use of meat as we grow in age. Therefore, wouldn’t you instead follow a plant-based healthy diet to avoid all these health troubles?
Animal products carry high levels of chemicals
According to PETA, animal products such as eggs, meat, or dairy products contain an alarming amount of antibiotics, dioxins, hormones, bacteria and other toxins that can result in severe health complications in humans. The USDA also states that 70 per cent of food poisoning cases are due to consumption of contaminated animal flesh. Mass production of animals requires the use of hormones and antibiotics to force the animals to grow faster than usual. This induced growth can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and increase the accumulation of carcinogenic substances in animals which ends up in humans.
Being vegan is environmentally-friendly
Research shows that the meat industry accounts for about 18-51 per cent of the human-made pollution. 75kg CO2 emission is required to produce one pound of hamburger meat according to Earthsave. This anti-climate change trend makes the meat production industry even more notorious regarding pollution than transportation and the manufacturing industry.
Improves your mood
Studies have shown that people on a vegan diet have healthier mood states. It means you are less likely to suffer from depression and anger, fatigue, tension, and stress. Interestingly, on the other hand, plant-based foods improve healthier mood state mainly because they are rich in antioxidants.
Keeps you youthful
A vegan diet can also help you maintain your youth by improving the health of your skin and hair due to the high levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants in plant-based foods. Rather than spending a lot of money buying cosmetics which often prove damaging than improving, why not go for plant-based foods? They are safer and cheaper.
The vegan diet is therefore ideal in many ways. It saves the planet from harmful food production practices, keeps you healthy by protecting you from many diseases, and amazingly makes you look young for longer.
You may also want to explore these simple dieting tips for beginners to help you start off your new healthy eating habits and vegan lifestyle.