The benefits of a vegan diet.
Veganism is a plant-based, cruelty-free lifestyle that has grown in popularity over the last decade. Vegans – the name for people who do not eat animals or make use of any animal products – believe that besides the use of animals being unethical, there are also a number of health benefits that accompany this new, fully natural way of eating. Most people who have made the move from being meat-eaters, or flexitarian to vegan, have noted better digestion, weight-loss and a general feeling of well-being, among other things.
Here are three benefits you may experience when you go vegan.
Regular bowel movements
Almost 50% of South Africans suffer from digestive issues, which experts say is directly linked to the types of diet and lifestyles they follow. A healthy digestive system means a healthy body.
The fibre in a vegetarian diet will keep foods and waste moving smoothly through your system, avoiding both constipation and diarrhoea, says Everyday Health. Digestion is important because your body needs nutrients from food and drink to work properly and stay healthy. The digestive system breaks nutrients into parts your body can easily absorb. These nutrients are used as energy, for growth and to repair any damaged cells. What it doesn’t need is carried through the body and excreted as waste.
Prevention of certain cancers
Vegetarians and vegans have a lower chance of developing certain cancers than meat eaters do. Studies have shown eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. Vegans have a lower incidence of cancer than non-vegetarians do.
When you stop eating red meat, your chance of developing colon cancer immediately drops. It’s not clear whether avoiding all animal products reduces the risk further, says Harvard Health. Vegetarians and vegans usually have lower levels of potentially carcinogenic substances in their colons, but studies comparing cancer rates in vegetarians and non-vegetarians have shown inconsistent results.
A British study indicates, however, that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, as well and colorectal ailments and cancer.
Loads of clean energy
Many people who have transitioned into veganism have professed to have an abundance of energy a few weeks into their diet, and experts say that it isn’t a placebo effect. Plant-based proteins from leafy greens, legumes and seeds are easily digestible. These superfoods are full of fibre and energising properties that can make you feel more alert. Healthline says that unlike animal meats, these sources of protein offer a punch of energy without the crash effect, which is why vegans often feel lively for longer periods of time.
Vegan diets are also richer in nutrients, assuming that the individual is making sure to have enough meals a day and ensuring sizeable portions. Vegan diets are also linked to less inflammation and fewer reports of arthritis, lower blood pressure and improved kidney function.