In lifestyle shifts, veganism is the latest health craze that has benefits that boosts overall wellbeing over traditional western diets. I’m not here to preach or sway your mind to switch to a vegan diet but there are surprisingly several major benefits that will boost your physical health.
Kidney and Blood Sugar Levels
Firstly, you will see improvements in bodily functions, mainly in the kidneys and lower blood sugar levels. Plant based proteins such as soy have been proven to improve renal functions just as traditional protein sources such as red meat and poultry do. A decline in kidney functions is linked to diabetes and other kidney diseases. Vegan diets has been linked to lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity and a 50 – 70% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to a study, blood sugar medication has seen a reduction by 43% for participants who choose a vegan diet over a suggested medical diet.
Having trouble shedding those excess kilos? It’s possible a vegan diet might suit your needs and get you into shape. Based on observations and scientific studies, it is seen that vegans are thinner and lower in body mass index than non-vegans and in a controlled environment, plant based diets have seen faster loss in weight than those consuming a controlled diet over an 18-week period. This also true when comparing a vegan diet to a traditional western diet.
Plant based diets (vegetarian or vegan) not only lowers the risk of heart disease, but also cholesterol and the risk of high blood pressure. Traditional meat based diets have been linked to increasing your cholesterol which in turn can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Studies have shown a decrease in developing high blood pressure up to 75% and a 42% in lowering risk of dying from heart disease. This is in comparison to several other diets. One major factor is that vegan diets encourages the consumption of whole grains which is proven to benefit your heart and lower the health risks.
Sounds hard to believe but a vegan diet can protect you against certain cancers in men and women. In general, consuming legumes on a regular basis has been proven to lower the risk of colorectal cancer by about 9–18%. For women specifically, soy based products can protect against breast cancer but in general, avoiding processed, smoked and overcooked meat decreases the chance of developing prostate, breast and colon cancers for both men and women. It hasn’t been pinpointed exactly why vegans have a lower risk of developing cancer but eating 7 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day definitely will lower your risk of dying from cancer by 15%.
Pain and Strain
Joint pain and stiffness have been seen to decrease in those on a vegan diet. Studies suggest that a plant based diet improved the wellbeing of patients suffering from different types of arthritis. In a study, 40 arthritic patients opted to either choose a vegan diet or to continue their traditional diets. For the patients that made the dietary switch to a plant based whole food diet for 6 weeks, their results showed an increase in mobility and higher energy levels than those who didn’t change. On a probiotic rich vegan diet, results showed improvement in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Morning stiffness and joint pain seem to decrease when compared to an omnivorous diet.
So, there is definitely truth to the idea that a vegan diet provides many health benefits, however, making drastic changes to your diet without proper research can be a major health risk, due to the fact that you may not be taking in enough of the essential nutrients. When making a lifestyle change, you should make sure that you are getting the right information to help you transition correctly.