Food

30 Benefits of Adopting a Vegan Diet

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… Simi - April 29, 2019

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.

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