Many people will write going vegan off as the slavish adherence to a trend. However, most people who follow the diet have made a conscious choice to make veganism part of their lifestyle. Many choose the diet as part of their social and environmental responsibility, while others become vegans seeing it as healthier than an omnivorous diet. Most followers of the diet cite both factors as part of their reasoning. What’s the difference between vegans and vegetarians you might ask? Vegetarians consume some animal products. They only abstain from eating meat. They will eat animal-based foods like eggs and dairy products. Vegans consume neither meat nor any other animal-based foods.
A vegan diet is 100% plant-based. There are some processed vegan foods. However, vegan food is, on the whole, natural and organic. This factor alone has health benefits for vegans since processed foods are the cause of many health problems. There are misperceptions that all vegans can eat are salads and vegetable bakes. This misinformation couldn’t be further from the truth as there are so many meal options for vegans. Al l it takes is a bit of creativity and a wide-ranging vegan recipe book to discover that there are many tasty meals for vegans. Many celebrities are vegans. The long list of names includes Madonna, Ariana Grande, Peter Dinklage, and former U.S President, Bill Clinton. All are outspoken proponents of veganism, saying that they will never regret their choice to ‘go green.’ Here are just some of the benefits of choosing a vegan diet.
You’ll lose weight
A vegan diet results in weight loss because there is a zero animal fat intake which is one of the biggest culprits for weight gain and it contains far fewer calories than a regular diet. Studies conducted have shown that a vegan diet promotes weight loss. In one study, people on a regular diet followed a calorie-restricted eating plan. Vegans were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. Despite this, the vegans maintained lower body weights. In many instances, the vegans’ calorie intake was more moderate than their counterparts.
One of the reasons for this is suspected of being the highly fibrous nature of a vegan diet. Eating a lot of fiber makes you feel full faster and keeps you feeling full longer. Vegans tend to have a lower BMI (body mass index) than non-vegans. A lower BMI means their height to weight ratio is healthy, and there is minimal fat on their bodies. Taking on a vegan diet automatically reduces your calorie intake. Veganism will help you to lose weight without needing to go on a regular weight loss plan that focuses on cutting down calorie intake. You’ll have fewer hunger pangs and cravings if you adopt a vegan diet.
A vegan diet regulates your bowel movements
Constipation is defined as a difficulty to empty the bowel. It is accompanied by hard stools that are painful to pass. The condition is often the result of a poor diet. One of the things people with constipation lack is sufficient fiber in their diet. There are two kinds of fiber you should be consuming: 1. Insoluble fiber: this fiber adds bulk to the stool, facilitating healthy bowel movements. We get insoluble fiber from vegetables and whole grains. 2. Soluble fiber: this fiber absorbs water in the bowel and turns into a gel-like substance. The substance slows down the digestive process, allowing the intestines to process all the food. We get soluble fiber from foods such as nuts, seeds, peas, and oat bran.
Red meat and dairy products are among the foods that cause constipation. Eliminating them by adopting a vegan diet will begin the process of regulating your bowel movement. Add to this the fact that a vegan diet is very rich in fiber. Veganism is a diet that’s ideal for anyone struggling with constipation. It’s more likely that the bowel will be emptied instead of partially evacuated which is a cause of constipation.
A vegan diet can change the bacteria in your gut
The gut is full of bacteria. There are good bacteria and harmful bacteria. Good bacteria are beneficial to the body and keep the digestive system healthy. Bad bacteria are pathogenic. These bacteria can make us sick. Some of so dangerous they can result in death. Research suggests that the bacteria in the gut is influential in your overall health. The gut biome in your body should ideally contain 85% good bacteria and 15% harmful bacteria.
The food you consume determines which bacteria exist in your gut biome. Changing your diet can give your gut biome a complete makeover. Studies have shown that people who eat animal-based food have higher levels of the B. wadsworthia microbe which is linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). A diet including animal-based foods introduces fecal bile acid into the human gut. This bile acid is known to cause gastrointestinal disorders and infections. The elimination of meat and other animal-based foods when you start a vegan diet means you are no longer exposing your gut to these substances. A vegan diet eliminates animal products and limits fats, thereby promoting the growth of healthy bacteria and the reduction of harmful bacteria.
Veganism can improve your athletic performance
Processed fats and sugars deplete your energy. They may give you a short boost of energy. Protein is essential for peak physical performance. Many skeptics might argue that a vegan diet cannot provide enough protein. That’s because the sources of protein most people know about are meat and dairy products. However, vegetables contain surprisingly high levels of protein. Iron and magnesium are essential minerals needed for peak physical performance. It could be argued that a vegan has less access to them as their bioavailability in vegetables is less than in meat and dairy products. However, there are plenty of foods in a vegan diet that contains iron and magnesium.
Vegans can research the levels of iron and magnesium in the food they’re eating to make sure they’re getting enough. Taking supplements to augment levels of iron and magnesium is also an option. The high levels of nutrients in a vegan’s body makes them less prone to injury and able to recover from a strenuous workout more quickly. Vegans tend to show higher levels of flexibility and endurance. You need only look to Venus and Serena Williams to see that veganism can improve athletic performance.
A vegan diet can lower your cholesterol levels
Cholesterol’s function is to help in the production of healthy cells. However, there is a risk that cholesterol levels can become elevated. When this happens, fatty deposits appear in the blood vessels. The fatty deposits get larger and constrict your blood vessels. When the fatty deposits dislodge, they flow through the blood. They can cause clots. The clots have the potential to result in a stroke or a heart attack. There are two types of cholesterol: Good cholesterol: known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), good cholesterol collects excess cholesterol and transports it to the liver. It occurs naturally in the body. Bad cholesterol: known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL), bad cholesterol carries cholesterol around the body, allowing the fatty deposits to build up. Most of the bad cholesterol in your body comes from the food you eat.
Saturated fats found in animal products can lead to an increase in bad cholesterol levels. Red meat and full-fat dairy products are high in cholesterol. A vegan diet eliminates the consumption of dietary cholesterol as vegan food doesn’t contain any. Dietary cholesterol is associated with bad cholesterol. Many people who change to a vegan diet report lowered cholesterol levels.
A vegan diet keeps blood sugar levels in check and Type 2 diabetes at bay
Stable blood sugar levels are essential for good health. Glucose travels around your body in your bloodstream to provide it with energy. Your blood sugar levels depend on what you eat and how your body processes glucose. The body releases the hormone insulin into the bloodstream to control blood sugar levels. The pancreas produces insulin Where the body is subjected to continuous high levels of blood sugar, the insulin becomes less effective in reducing blood sugar levels. The pancreas may not be able to produce enough insulin to tackle the blood sugar. These are the signs of the potential onset of Type 2 diabetes.
A vegan diet has been shown through independent study to improve the blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Vegans have a 50-78% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Some people with diabetes have reduced their medication requirements on a vegan diet, under the care of a healthcare professional. Obesity is one of the most significant risks of developing Type 2 diabetes. The weight loss promoted by veganism is a supporting factor in reducing the risk of diabetes.
Veganism can lower your blood pressure
With each beat, your heart is pumping blood around your body through the arteries. The blood delivers oxygen and energy to the muscles and organs. The blood puts the arteries under pressure as it moves through them. This is called blood pressure. High blood pressure is called hypertension, and it is known as a silent killer. Many people have high blood pressure and don’t even know it. Untreated hypertension can be fatal. High blood pressure starts with the tightening of the walls of tiny arteries, called arterioles. The heart must work harder to pump the blood through the arterioles, and the pressure on these artery walls grows. This is called high blood pressure.
The consequences of high blood pressure include hardened arteries, damaged kidneys, and an enlarged heart. These all have the potential to cause death if the hypertension is not treated. Vegans have a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure, according to recent studies. Poor dietary choices such as large quantities of saturated animal fats and sodium are causes of hypertension. These do not feature in the vegan diet, which goes a long way in explaining why vegans have lower blood pressure.
A vegan diet will lower your risk of heart disease
High blood pressure and cholesterol both put a strain on the heart and are the leading causes of preventable heart disease. The heart must work harder to pump the blood around the body. The constricted blood vessels that cause high blood pressure make the heart work harder. So do the fatty deposits of cholesterol in the arteries. The heart can become enlarged as it tries to work almost twice as hard as it should. Like most muscles, the heart has a lifespan. It has only so many beats to give. When you have hypertension and or high cholesterol levels, your heart must beat more often to keep the body running.
Your heart will reach the end of its lifespan at an earlier age than it should have. Heart disease can lead to heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, and sudden cardiac arrest. Any of these can be fatal. You can limit your risk of heart disease by taking precautions in your diet. Saturated fats and high levels of sodium are prime contributors to heart disease. Eliminating them by taking up veganism can protect your heart. A healthy heart leads to a longer life.
Veganism can lower your risk of kidney failure
Diabetes and high blood pressure permanently damage your kidneys. The damage is irreversible. The kidneys are no longer able to function correctly. The kidneys remove waste from the blood, balance the fluids in the body, and produce urine to expel waste. When the kidneys have suffered damage, they cannot function optimally. One of the primary functions of the kidneys is to dispose of excess protein in the body. While it is essential to consume proteins, too many proteins place an unnecessary strain on the kidneys.
The primary perception of protein is taught from the time you’re very young. That is that proteins are found in red meat and dairy products. While this is true, there are alternatives to these animal-based proteins. These compounds are called plant-based proteins, and they feature prominently in a vegan diet. Plant-based protein is seen as being kinder to the kidneys than animal-based protein. Plant-based protein allows the kidneys to perform their functions with a reduced risk of damage when compared to animal-based protein. A vegan diet consists exclusively of plant-based protein. While excessive consumption of protein is discouraged, the plant-based protein will benefit the kidneys more than it will harm them.
Veganism has been linked to improved bone health
Vitamin D and calcium play an essential role in keeping your bones healthy. Without Vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed and utilized in the body. There are few natural sources of Vitamin D aside from the sun. However, many foods such as soy milk and almond milk are fortified with Vitamin D. Calcium is found in large quantities in dairy products. Hence some people assume that vegans wind up being calcium deficient as they do not consume any animal-based products. This is not necessarily true.
For optimal bone health, the following is needed: adequate protein intake, a good supply of calcium, low levels of sodium and high levels of potassium. A vegan diet can provide all four components. This slows down the loss of bone density. Bone density is measured to determine the strength of your bones. A dramatic loss of bone density can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis. When you adopt a vegan diet, your body can more efficiently absorb the calcium it needs to maintain bone density. It also allows for better bone metabolism which is the process whereby new bone tissue is formed.
A vegan diet may help to prevent certain cancers
Vegans have up to a 15% lower risk of getting cancer or dying as a result of the disease. It’s mostly thought that the increased intake of phytochemicals is the reason why. There are high concentrations of phytochemicals in plant-based foods. Phytochemicals are also known as phytonutrients. They are found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, all of which are prominent in a vegan diet. There are tens of thousands of types of phytochemicals. Eating a plant-based diet exposes the vegan to far more of them than a person eating a non-vegan diet.
Research has pointed to the hypothesis that phytochemicals help to prevent the formation of carcinogens which are possible cancer-causing cells. Phytochemicals also help to prevent carcinogens from attacking cells in the body. The excessive consumption of animal products is thought to increase the risk of cancer. One of the reasons is that the presence of saturated fats from animal products in the digestive system prevents the effective absorption of nutrients. The types of cancers animal products have been associated with are breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, and colorectal cancer. Processed or smoked meat and meats cooked at high temperatures are thought to cause cancer.
Vegans could experience reduced arthritis pain
Arthritis refers to a group of conditions that cause severe joint pain and disease. Over 100 types of arthritis and related conditions exist. Common arthritis causes swelling, stiffness, pain, and a decreased range of motion in the joints. Arthritis may start with mild symptoms. They could worsen over time and result in permanent joint damage. People with chronic severe arthritis can no longer live their daily lives as they did before. They are in almost constant pain.
A variety of factors causes arthritis. Wear and tear on joints and cartilage cause conditions such as osteoarthritis. Inflammation caused by an overactive immune system causes rheumatoid arthritis. These are the two most common types of arthritis. Dairy consumption has long been thought to be the cause of arthritis pain. Animal products are known to increase inflammation. Studies have shown that vegans with arthritis show higher levels of energy and improved physical function of the joints. There seems to be a link between veganism and the alleviation of pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This is thought to be mainly because a vegan diet does not include any animal-based products.
A vegan diet may provide relief for migraine sufferers
A migraine is a severe headache. It is a headache that recurs. Intense pain can last for a few hours or even days at a time. Migraine sufferers tend to experience pain on one side of their head and face. Nausea and blurred vision often accompany a migraine. Migraines can be so debilitating that they affect the sufferer’s quality of life. A migraine can put you out of action for days at a time. Treatment of migraines is often related to the symptoms rather than the cause. Painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen can alleviate a migraine. Certain pain relievers such as Excedrin Migraine target migraine pain. While they address the pain, they do nothing about the migraine triggers.
Migraines are the result of triggers. Different migraine sufferers have different triggers. These can range from allergies to stress. Hormonal changes and environmental factors can also cause migraine. Another migraine trigger is diet. Dairy products such as chocolate and can cause a migraine. Aged meats and cheese can do the same. They contain nitrates which are thought to induce a migraine. Since a vegan diet eliminates animal-based products and some food allergens, it is likely to eradicate dietary migraine attacks.
Vegans consume more antioxidants than non-vegans
Antioxidants come from natural and artificial sources. Oxidants are found in the phytonutrients that occur in vegetables and other plant-based foods. The body also produces antioxidants. Free radicals are the by-product of some bodily functions such as processing food and reacting to triggers in the environment. Should the body not eliminate free radicals, the result is oxidative stress. Other factors that can cause oxidative stress are excessive exercise, smoking, and the consumption of certain foods. The foods that can induce oxidative stress include trans fats. Trans fats come from processed foods, which often include animal-based products.
Oxidative stress can cause several severe health conditions. These include heart disease, cancer, immune deficiencies, and arthritis. Increased intake of antioxidants has been shown to reduce oxidative stress. Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers. They neutralize excess free radicals and eliminate the risks they pose. High concentrations of antioxidants are found in nuts such as pecans. Beans, beets, kale, and red cabbage have many antioxidants in them. Another good source of antioxidants is berries such as blueberries, strawberries, Goji berries, and raspberries. By comparison, animal-based products contain few antioxidants. Vegans tend to consume more antioxidants than non-vegans since their entire diet is plant-based.
A vegan diet can lead to improved mood
Eating plenty of plant-based foods has been linked to improved mood. The long chain fatty acids in animal-based foods contain arachidonic acid. This acid has been linked to depression as it disrupts the sensitive chemical balance in the brain. Complex carbohydrates feature strongly in a vegan diet. Increased levels of complex carbohydrates can increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is the feel-good neurotransmitter that stabilizes the mood. A lack of serotonin can lead to depression. People who have converted to veganism say that their quality of sleep improves. Magnesium and calcium are essential for a healthy sleep cycle.
Fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods are full of magnesium and calcium. Many vegans experience decreased levels of stress. The minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin B reduce stress levels. While stress cannot be managed through diet alone, eating healthy foods can help to control it. Combined with other stress management techniques, a vegan diet can reduce stress. Eating healthy foods such as those in a vegan diet promotes physical well-being. The immune system is boosted, and there is less risk of illness. A state of healthiness reduces stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness. It seems that fruits and vegetables may be natural antidepressants.
Veganism can protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration affects the central vision. People who develop macular degeneration experience blurred vision in the middle of the visual field. In severe cases, there may be no vision in the middle of the visual field at all. The aging process causes age-related macular degeneration. The macula is a part of the retina that is at the back of the eye.
Risk factors for age-related macular degeneration include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and paler iris colors. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that all the risk factors related to macular degeneration can be linked to free radicals. There are more free radicals in the body as it ages. The oxidative stress that follows can cause damage to the macula. Often, the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration are barely noticeable until it is too late. There is no treatment for macular degeneration. Since the vegan diet helps you to lose weight and lowers your blood pressure, it already exposes you to less risk of macular degeneration. Antioxidants are thought to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration as they counteract excess free radicals in the body.
Vegans are less likely to develop cataracts
A cataract forms over the lens of the eye. It clouds the eye lens. Proteins or pigments form cataracts. Cataracts develop slowly and lead to a gradual decrease in vision. A cataract can cause complete blindness if it isn’t treated. The majority of cataracts are caused by aging. An injury to the lens causes some cataracts. There is also a genetic risk of developing cataracts. People with diabetes are more prone to cataracts than non-diabetics. The long-term use or abuse of steroids also presents the risk of cataracts as does smoking. A change in the tissue of the lens caused by any of these factors leads to the formation of a cataract.
The primary treatment offered for cataracts is surgery. During the operation, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with an artificial interocular lens. Studies have linked veganism to a reduced risk of cataracts. High meat eaters presented the highest risk of developing cataracts. Low meat eaters, pescatarians, and vegetarians followed in that order. The lowered risk of cataracts is linked to a high intake of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. These vitamins help to prevent cataracts and are present in large quantities in plant-based foods.
A vegan diet can reduce or eliminate body odor
Body odor isn’t always down to poor hygiene. People’s first assumption, when they encounter someone with body odor, is that they need to have a shower or bath. An unpleasant body odor can be very embarrassing. In the past, body odor is thought to be the smell of sweat. Bacteria gather where there is sweat. It is the smell of the sweat when the bacteria to break it down into acids that is unpleasant.
Body odor can be affected by factors such as overall health, diet, gender, and chronic medication. Body odor is affected by what you eat. Many people who go vegan report a complete change in body odor. Vegans find that their sweat is odorless and experience little unpleasant body odor. The standard explanation for this is that animal-based foods stagnate in the body as they putrefy in the digestive tract. They release toxins into the bloodstream via the intestines which are then excreted via perspiration. In a vegan diet, the food consumed breaks down quickly and doesn’t stick around in the digestive tract for too long. The food leaves the large intestine before it secretes anything into the bloodstream.
Veganism can reduce or eliminate bad breath
Bad breath or halitosis is quite a common problem. It’s a sensitive subject and a source of embarrassment for sufferers. The condition affects up to 40% of the population. Bad breath does not always indicate that a person has not brushed their teeth. Smoking, gum disease, tooth decay, mouth sores, and infections also cause it. Even infections of the sinuses, throat, or lungs can cause bad breath. Good oral hygiene practices, stopping smoking, and taking medication to eliminate infections can reduce the occurrence of bad breath.
A factor that causes bad breath that few people know about is diet. Eating meat and cheese can cause bad breath. Animal-based proteins which are found in meat and dairy products can get trapped between the teeth. These tiny slivers of food attract bacteria from the tongue and all around the mouth to break them down. This causes a person’s breath to smell bad. Flossing immediately after eating helps to eliminate the problem. Veganism is the way to go to prevent dietary-related bad breath. With no animal-based products in the diet, there are none to get trapped in the teeth and cause bad breath.
Skin health improves when you go vegan
The skin is the body’s largest organ. The skin acts as a barrier and protects the body from changing temperatures, foreign objects, and micro-organisms. The skin is also the sense organ of the body, controlling the sensations of heat cold, touch, and pain. There are different skin conditions many people experience. These include hives, eczema, or dermatitis which is an umbrella term for different rashes. Fine lines and wrinkles appear as we age as the skin starts drying out. Acne is common among adolescents and may continue later in life.
Dermatologists know that dairy products are often to blame for many skin conditions, especially acne. Mild to moderate acne can clear up if all dairy products are eliminated from the diet. Vitamin A and Vitamin E are essential for good skin health. Vitamin C aid in the production of collagen which makes the skin more elastic and less prone to signs of aging. A vegan’s intake of the vitamins essential for good skin health is likely to be higher than that of a non-vegan. The necessary nutrients are found in high quantities in plant-based foods, which form the entire core of a vegan diet.
Vegans have healthier hair and nails
When your hair and nails are not at their best, it’s easy to find products that claim they’ll eliminate what’s wrong with them. However, external treatments are not necessarily the answer. Treating the exterior might alleviate the symptom, but it will not address the cause. Brittle hair and nails are quite common in those who do not follow a healthy diet. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are essential for strong, healthy hair and nails. The most important nutrients hair and nails need to flourish are vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, and minerals. Vitamins A, C, E, and D are essential as are magnesium, silicon, selenium, and zinc. Collagen is vital as it is the major component of connective tissue.
The essential ingredients to keep hair and nails healthy are found in plant-based foods. The nutrients are also found in animal-based foods, but there’s a catch. The human body does not readily absorb animal fats and proteins. They take days to move through the digestive system. A lot of their nutritional value is lost along the way. A vegan diet means loads of nutrients from fruits and vegetables. These nutrients are readily absorbed in the digestive system.
A vegan diet can alleviate PMS
Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) differs from one woman to another. Some women have no symptoms, while other women have severe difficulties as their menstrual period approaches. A woman might have symptoms one month and none the next. Symptoms of PMS include acne outbreaks, bloating, exhaustion, irritability, aggression, mood swings, and tender breasts. There is no test to determine if a woman has PMS. However, a diagnosis is made when a woman complains about regular episodes of the emotional symptoms of PMS that appear before menstruation and disappear soon after it starts. The severity of the signs should be such that they interfere with a woman’s everyday life.
Since a woman’s menstrual cycle revolves around rising and falling hormone levels, it’s easy to see that PMS is hormone-related. Progesterone, estrogen, and estradiol levels alter during different phases of the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations bring on episodes of PMS. Research on the relationship between veganism and PMS is necessary. However, there are many anecdotal stories of women who have reported significant improvements in their PMS symptoms after going vegan. Broccoli, kale, and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables. Together with fiber from whole grains, they can help normalize estrogen levels.
A vegan diet can help with thyroid disorders
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. The thyroid gland is at the front of the neck right beneath the larynx. The thyroid gland produces hormones that are necessary for vital processes in the body. These processes include heart function, digestive functions, muscle control, bone maintenance, and brain development. The hypothalamus in the brain controls the release of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland produces thyroxine and triiodothyronine hormones. It also produces calcitonin which is thought to help in the regulation of calcium levels in the body. Hypothyroidism will decrease the sufferer’s metabolic rate. Other symptoms include fatigue, depression, poor memory, and a lowered heart rate.
Several nutrients in the body can help to regulate the thyroid gland. They include iodine and tyrosine. Iodine is found in seaweed and mineral salt. Your body produces tyrosine, but it should be supplemented with dietary tyrosine intake. Nuts, seeds, and fruits are rich in tyrosine. Zinc, copper, and selenium are essential minerals that relate to thyroid function. Hypothyroidism causes oxidative stress. Foods rich in antioxidants lessen oxidative stress. Vegan diets are rich in all the nutrients needed to help in the regulation of thyroid function.
Veganism prevents exposure to certain illnesses
There are several bacterial infections caused by contact with meat and other animal products. These include e. Coli and salmonella. Escherichia coli (e. Coli) is a bacterium that lives in your intestines and is also present in the bowels of several animals. There are different types of E. coli. Some are harmless and necessary for digestive health. Some strains are dangerous and can cause severe diarrhea. The young, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system can quickly die. E. coli can cause other conditions such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Fouled water can cause E. coli, but its primary source is animal products.
Salmonella is most often found in raw or undercooked meat and animal products. It is common in unpasteurized dairy products, eggs, and meat. Salmonella has been found in some vegetable products, but the number is minimal when compared to infections in animal products. Salmonella causes food poisoning which can in some instances be life-threatening. While a vegan diet cannot eliminate the risk of getting e. Coli and salmonella, it can reduce the odds. By and large, these bacteria thrive in animal products better than they do in plant-based foods.
Vegans have more balanced hormones
The mass-produced meat market is a cutthroat business. There is a need to get the animals ready for slaughter quickly. At times, this feat is accomplished by speeding up the growth period. It is also necessary to get the animal to a certain size before slaughtering yields the desired profit. To get animals to the slaughterhouse as quickly as possible and make a decent profit, growth hormones are used. The use of growth hormones has been an accepted practice in the meat industry for decades. The main hormones used are natural testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, and synthetic versions. Legislative regulations determine how much of these hormones may be used. However, monitoring of the implementation of these regulations is not possible at every farm or slaughterhouse.
Rising levels of hormones in meat products mean that meat eaters are ingesting more hormones than they should. This disrupts the body’s natural hormone levels. Unbalanced hormones can lead to several illnesses and health conditions. The endocrine system is sensitive to imbalances. Also, some hormones have been shown to induce tumor growths in humans. Going vegan prevents the intake of these hormones in meat products.
A vegan diet reduces the chance of antibiotic resistance
Animals produced for their meat live in cramped quarters. This causes the quick spread of diseases if there is an outbreak. Many meat producers use antibiotics to prevent, control, and treat infections among the livestock population. While it is illegal in some countries, antibiotics are still widely used to promote growth in animals before their slaughter. The antibiotics used to treat livestock find their way into the human body through the meat and animal products they eat. While cooking may eliminate some of the antibiotics, there is a good chance that some enter the body. Health experts are concerned that the constant supply of antibiotics to the system through animal product consumption is leading to antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance refers to the ability of a microorganism to mutate and withstand the effects of an antibiotic. This antibiotic resistance means that certain infections are no longer sensitive to conventional antibiotics. An antibiotic that would have destroyed a bacterium 20 years ago is no longer effective. This has led to the evolution of superbugs which are multi-drug resistant. Vegans are not exposed to antibiotics from animal products and less likely to develop antibiotic resistance.
A vegan diet may help sufferers of some allergies
Some vegans need to be vigilant about what they’re eating if they have a food allergy such as nuts. In most instances, nut allergies can be life-threatening if not treated right away. For people with other food and environmental allergies, a reaction is accompanied by congestion of the nose and sinuses. For some, skin conditions such as eczema and hives are also a regular occurrence. Asthma can also be the result of an allergy. An allergy is the immune response of the body toward a substance to which it is hypersensitive. The element in question is caused by an allergen.
In severe cases, an allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis. This is the sudden swelling of the throat to the extent that breathing becomes difficult. Anaphylaxis can be deadly. While a vegan diet cannot cure an allergy, it can minimize the body’s response to exposure to an allergy. One of the prime causes of the congestion allergy sufferers experience is dairy products. Doctors have advised many patients with allergies to avoid dairy products when the congestion starts. Patients report that the congestion clears up more quickly if they eliminate dairy products from their diet.
Being a vegan is getting easier
When veganism was seen as a hippie trend, few shops, and restaurants catered for vegans. There were limited food options available, making veganism a repetitive diet consisting of very few dishes. These limitations forced many people to abandon veganism. Now that veganism is more acceptable as part of the mainstream dietary choices, there are many more options. Hundreds of vegan cookbooks show how many tasty meals vegans can make. The global economy has allowed shoppers exposure to many more vegetable products than ever before. This more extensive variety of foods enables vegans to cook many different meals. A lot of vegans say that because there are so many tasty recipes to try, they’re not tempted to fall off the vegan wagon anymore.
These factors have made it easier to go vegan and stay vegan. Prices are also more competitive making veganism affordable. There is a growing sense of consciousness among shoppers who want to buy healthy products. Organic products are in demand. People are willing to pay a little extra for products that are naturally grown. Restaurants are more sensitive to the idea that not all their patrons eat animal-based products. Menus are now peppered with a great choice of vegan dishes.
Vegans are doing their part for the environment
One of the primary causes of the thinning of the earth’s ozone layer and climate change is the presence of certain gases in the air. One of these is methane gas. Methane gas is a greenhouse gas. It enters the atmosphere from several sources. One of those is livestock farming since methane gas is a by-product of livestock farming. Cows produce methane gas in their guts. The gas is expelled when they burp and when they expel waste. Pigs and sheep also produce methane gas, although cows are the biggest culprits. Methane gas produced by our animal population accounts for nearly 15% of the methane in the air around us.
People who eat animal-based products have a larger carbon footprint than vegans. The reason that their the animal products they consume have a methane gas emission label attached to them. Crops grown to feed animals in preparation for slaughter have contributed to deforestation in many countries. Farming vegetables is less harmful to the environment than livestock farming. Plant growth requires fewer resources than animal rearing. Becoming a vegan is a simple way of reducing your negative impact on the environment.
A vegan diet is a way of expressing concerns over animal welfare
The conditions for animals in mass-production meat farms are often deplorable. Animals are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. Many are overfed and highly stressed. The animals live in large numbers in tiny spaces and have no room for movement. These animals are bred purely for slaughter before their natural lifespan is complete. Many people feel overwhelming guilt about the welfare of the animals slaughtered for human consumption. The slaughtering processes are not as humane as marketing might suggest. Animals endure pain and are often subjected to a painful death. This suffering is inflicted on them purely for mass-production of meat for an ever-increasing market.
Some farmers rear organic, free-range livestock. While their meat is healthier to eat, such farmers are few and far between. The bulk of meat we buy in the supermarket comes from meat farms. This meat is cheaper and more readily available. People who no longer wish to associate themselves with the cruelty that accompanies the production of the meat we eat turn to veganism. They eat their meals guilt-free and sure that they are not playing any role in compromising the welfare of animals.