Looking to ward off your family history of diabetes, cancer, or obesity? This simple method is too often overlooked.
While fad diets come and go, veganism dates back to nearly 500 B.C. with the ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras being one of the earliest reported adherents.
But what’s so special about a vegan diet? Here are 7 fascinating health benefits of sticking to a purely vegan diet.
1. Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
Diets rich in vitamins and nutrients, like those found in plants, are commonly recommended by doctors to help ward off the dangers of chronic diseases.
Heart disease is rampant in the United States and plenty of studies have been conducted to prove the importance of a vegetable-rich diet in eliminating the effects.
One such study conducted by scientists at Harvard found that variety in your fruits and vegetables (like that found in vegan diets), is key to preventing heart disease. This is because no one fruit or veggie has all the needed nutrients humans require for strong hearts.
Thus, a vegan diet rich in different grains, fruits, and vegetables may be ideal for those looking to protect themselves from heart disease or other chronic illnesses.
2. Shed Unhealthy Pounds
Even if you aren’t necessarily looking to lose weight, a vegan diet is a sure way to keep a slim figure.
Forget those trendy fad-diets that leave you feeling dissatisfied and hungry. With every fruit, grain, herb, and vegetable in the world at your disposal, the flavors, and delicious dish possibilities are endless.
As a vegan, there’s no need to ever go hungry.
Get your fill of amazing tastes and textures all while feeling full and staying slender. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like this benefit?
3. Boost Your Kidneys
Kidneys are the filter for your body. The average kidney will filter around 200 quarts of blood each day to remove toxins and waste.
Unfortunately, not many people give their kidneys much thought, but these babies are vital to good health. If you’re already experiencing a decrease in kidney function, a vegan or vegetarian diet may even be recommended by your doctor.
Some studies indicate that patients who replaced their animal protein sources with plant proteins saw improvements in their kidney function over time.
4. Protect Against Cancer
Did you know that the World Health Organization has stated that almost 1/3 of all cancers can be prevented by things that people can control? That’s a frightening thought, especially when you consider what you’re putting into your body.
Maintaining a healthy, plant-rich diet is a serious factor in preventing some cancers.
Prostate, colon, and breast cancer are among some of the common cancers that are thought to be more likely prevented with a vegetable-heavy diet. Legumes and fresh fruits and vegetables, at least 7 servings a day, are key.
With a vegan diet, you are also sure to avoid carcinogens like processed meats.
5. Lower Blood Sugar
Did you know that vegans tend to not only have lower blood sugar but also a higher insulin sensitivity? They are also known to be far less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
It may seem like common sense that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables would improve health, but even diets suggested by the American Diabetes Association are not as effective are reducing blood sugar as vegan diets have been shown to be.
High blood sugar can lead to many scary conditions like type 2 diabetes, nerve damage, organ damage, and damage to your blood vessels.
When you combine your vegan diet with exercise, (think activities like yoga, cycling, or jogging), you are doing double-duty when it comes to lowering your blood sugar levels.
6. A More Nutrient-Rich Diet
The argument can be made that many animal products like cheese, meat, eggs, and honey, do contain some valuable nutrients like calcium and protein. However, the average American diet does not take in nearly enough “healthy” foods, animal-produced or otherwise, to provide the necessary amount of nutrients for a healthy body.
Vegans, on the other hand, are far more likely to receive at least the minimum amount of recommended fruits and vegetables every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Not only this, but vegan diets can still provide you with plenty of protein and calcium while not ramping up your cholesterol or causing hikes in your blood sugar levels like many animal products do.
When each meal is comprised mainly of savory spices, herbs, grains, soy, greens, and more, there’s no doubt you’re getting a hearty helping of needed nutrients.
7. Alleviate Arthritis
Arthritis can be brutal. There’s little in the way of long-term relief when it comes to medications. However, several studies have shown that sticking to a vegan diet can actually work to help relieve some aches and pains caused by arthritis.
Arthritis is naturally caused by the breakdown of joint tissues. Unfortunately, injuries to your joints or different infections can speed this breakdown along. When this happens, you’re left with aches and pains in your joints.
It makes sense that boosting your body’s health, strength, and immune system can alleviate the pains brought on by this breakdown.
Individuals who stick to a vegan or vegetarian diet are commonly found to report higher levels of energy. Certain fruits and vegetables contain naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that work to reduce swelling in joints and muscles.
A diet that’s packed with power foods like broccoli, beans, blueberries, avocados, and more can lessen symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by preventing stiffness and swelling.
So, Why a Vegan Diet?
At the end of the day, the benefits of a vegan diet are undeniable. Of course, there are pros and cons to both veganism and what many consider a “normal” diet that includes animal products.
Because of this, the choice for many comes down to a matter of principles as well as health and know-how.
Regardless of how you choose to fuel your body, including proper proportions of fruit and vegetables is always the right way to go. For more ideas on improving your health, read our post on restorative yoga sequences.