There are many benefits of eating vegan food. It’s healthier because you’re eating plant based food, which is good for the bones, and overall health, it’s also good for the environment.
A vegan diet is richer in certain nutrients
Eating a vegan diet means you don’t eat any meat and animal products, which means relying more on other foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
As these foods make up a larger proportion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet, they can contribute to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients like fibre, antioxidants and potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E.
However, it is important to ensure a high-quality diet to ensure adequate amounts of essential fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, iodine or zinc. Nutrient-poor, fast-food vegan options are to be avoided. Instead, base your diet around nutrient-rich whole plants and grains. Where necessary, you may also want to consider a supplement like vitamin B12.
It can help you lose excess weight
Many studies have shown that people on a vegan diet tend to be thinner and have a lower body mass index than non-vegans. Also, several other studies report that vegan diets are more effective for weight loss than other diets. In one study, even when they weren’t following their diets 100%, the vegan group still lost slightly more weight than those on a standard Western diet.
It lowers blood sugar levels
A vegan diet may also have benefits for type 2 diabetes as vegans tend to have lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity and around a 50% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Indeed, studies in the U.S show that vegan diets lower blood sugar levels in diabetics more than the diets from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Heart Association (AHA) and National Cholesterol Education Programme.
A vegan diet may protect against certain cancers
According to the World Health Organization, about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within our own control, including diet.
Research suggests that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day may lower your risk of dying from cancer by up to 15%.
Vegans generally eat considerably more fruit and vegetables than non-vegans. This may explain why a recent review of 96 studies found that vegans may benefit from a 15% lower risk of developing or dying from cancer. Vegan diets may also contain more soy products, which can offer some protection against breast cancer.
Avoiding certain animal products may also help reduce the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers.
It is linked to a lower risk of heart disease
A diet based on grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lentils, beans and nuts and fibre are linked to a lower risk of heart disease and all of these are generally eaten in large amounts in vegan diets.
Indeed, studies comparing those on a vegan diet to the general population show that vegans may benefit from up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure and a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Studies also show that vegan diets are much more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels than other diets and this may be particularly beneficial to heart health as reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are known to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.