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The Health Benefits of Vegan Living

by in Health 27/12/2013

Is this the year you finally go vegan? The main reason people become vegan is to avoid all foods and products that come from animals. If you’re on the fence about veganism perhaps this health information will help you take the plunge. In growing numbers, doctors are recommending that people cut back on their meat consumption and eat more vegetables. It’s certainly good advice, and those that take significant steps to go meat free and embrace a vegan diet are finding that not only is their health improving – and we’re talking about significantly reducing their risks for the top four killers – they’re also finding surprising benefits. Let’s take a look at the benefits in a bit more detail.

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Plants do not contain the same type or volume of saturated fats that animal products do. Dairy and read meat are particularly high in saturated fat. While some vegetables do contain saturated fat – like avocados and nuts – these particular fats have been shown to actually be quite beneficial. When people go on a vegan diet and eliminate animal products from their life, their cholesterol goes down, their blood pressure often goes down and their cardiovascular health improves.

There is a cumulative effect that reduces a vegan’s risk for cardiovascular disease. More fruits and vegetables means more nutrients and more fiber in a diet. Combine that with reduced cholesterol and saturated fats and you have a winning combination.

In a study reported on by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full,

plasma total and LDL cholesterol were 32% and 44% lower among vegans than among omnivores. Because obesity is a significant risk factor for CVD, the substantially lower mean BMI observed in vegans may be an important protective factor for lowering blood lipids and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Vegans, compared with omnivores, consume substantially greater quantities of fruit and vegetables. A higher consumption of fruit and vegetables, which are rich in fiber, folic acid, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, is associated with lower blood cholesterol concentrations a lower incidence of stroke, and a lower risk of mortality from stroke and ischemic heart disease. Vegans also have a higher consumption of whole grains, soy, and nuts, all of which provide significant cardioprotective effects.”

Reduced Risk of Cancer

Vegan eating has shown to not only prevent certain types of cancer but also reverse cancer in some patients who are dealing with the disease. A study published in Medical News Today showed that men who are in the early stages of prostate cancer were able to stop the progress of the cancer and in some cases were able to reverse it. (Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/28979.php)

Colon cancer is another cancer that is commonly reduced or eliminated by a diet that is rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally in countries where meat and animal product is low, women have a much lower rate of breast cancer.

Reduce Risks for Type II Diabetes

Type II Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which is a common result from obesity and a diet that is heavy in starchy carbohydrates and fatty foods. Conversely, a diet that has a foundation of fruits, vegetables, and plants is low in fat and not only helps manage blood sugar levels but has been shown to promote weight loss.

Better Hair, Skin, and Nails

fit woman eating salad
Many new vegans are surprised by how much their complexion improves. There are, as you might suspect, many reasons for this. Many people are sensitive to dairy proteins but don’t realize it. Once they eliminate this food from their diet their immune system and digestive systems don’t have to struggle. The result is an improvement in their overall health and your skin is always a good sign of your health. When it looks healthy and radiant you know you’re doing something right. Your hair and nails are also a sign of vitality. The nutrients you provide your body with via a vegan diet have a significant impact on your health.

Better Sleep, More Energy, Fewer Headaches, and Reduced Allergies

Studies have shown that not only do vegans enjoy more energy and better sleep, they also live longer. In fact several studies have suggested that they live an average of three to six years longer than omnivores.

Additionally, many vegans report a reduction in their allergy symptoms, including less congestion and fewer runny noses. This may be due to a decrease in allergens entering their body or it may be that they simply have a stronger immune system because of their nutrient rich diet. They also report fewer headaches including migraines.

Other benefits include:

  • Improved eyesight and a reduced risk of degenerative eye diseases;
  • Better focus and neurological function;
  • Reduced risk for arthritis and reduced arthritis pain; and
  • Reduced risk for osteoporosis.

As you can see, in addition to eating guilt-free there are plenty of health reasons to go vegan.

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