Many people transition to a vegan lifestyle because it improves their health. Are you considering a lifestyle change? You might be an omnivore right now or you may be a vegetarian who is exploring the next step in going vegan. Either way, you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to talk about the benefits of going vegan.
As far as diet goes, the difference between being vegan and vegetarian is generally eggs and dairy, with some other items thrown out, like honey. Many vegetarians do eat eggs and dairy products, but vegans do not. One of the reasons we avoid eggs and dairy is because of the impact on the environment. Another is for health. I remember my first few days as a vegan: my tastebuds were thanking me for quitting dairy and getting that thick coating off of my tongue, so I could actually taste my food!
Benefits of Going Vegan
The benefits of going vegan span far and wide. I don’t think there is even a way to measure all of the positive effects of veganism, to be completely honest. They’re all around us!
Why go Vegan? What Are the health benefits?
A large portion of vegans are vegan for the animals. I’m vegan for the animals, I’m vegan for my health, I’m vegan for so many reasons. The vegan movement is growing in health communities, because of the benefits to our mind and body.
Vegan diets (when done properly!) are known for improving health and well-being. But what exactly are the health benefits? Why is it better to eat vegetables and exclude meat and animal products? Here are just a few reasons why a vegan lifestyle is healthier.
Reduced Saturated Fats
Dairy products and meats contain a large amount of saturated fats. Linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, saturated fat can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
A diet high in fiber from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains leads to a healthier digestive system and helps prevent colon cancer. I make it well known that when I went vegan, my digestion improved and is now better than it’s ever been in my entire life! When you switch to a diet high in fiber, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, so it can do its job.
Antioxidants are nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. They protect your body against the damage of free radicals and many researchers also believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer. While there isn’t a whole lot of concrete proof yet, many documentaries have mentioned the link between a vegan diet and reduced risk of cancers as well. I expect to see quite a few studies out over the next 10-20 years, proving what most of us are already thinking: vegan diets can reduce cancer risk.
Plant-based foods also provide phytochemicals. These elements in plants can prevent cancer. They boost protective enzymes in your body and work with antioxidants to fight disease and the damage of free radicals.
Fight Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
A vegan diet can help you control your blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. In fact, a vegan diet can reverse Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it is a super-easy way to lose weight and maintain that weight loss, as long as you avoid the carb trap.
Live longer, feel better?
Some studies have shown that people who follow a vegan diet live longer. “Every three per cent increase in calories from plant protein was found to reduce risk of death by 10 per cent.” Going vegan can give you more energy, mental clarity, and focus.
What Are the Benefits to the Environment?
There are numerous health benefits to a vegan diet. However, that’s not the only reason that people choose to go vegan. There are also a number of environmental issues to consider. It’s interesting to look at the benefits of going vegan and its impact on the environment.
Land and Water Impact
It’s not something many people think about, but animals raised for food consume vast amounts of water. In fact, according to many water studies conducted, to produce a single pound of beef requires upwards of 2000 gallons of water. In comparison, tofu only takes about 300 gallons of water, per pound. A pound of wheat flour only requires 180 gallons of water, and it goes a lot further than a pound of beef.
Simply put: it’s wasteful and irresponsible to squander our precious resources on a luxury item like meat.
Polluted Air and Water Impact
In addition to consuming vast amounts of land and water in the United States and around the world, industrialized farming pollutes both the air and the water. Runoff from animal waste pollutes the rivers, lakes, and oceans. Chemicals from the pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides required for large-scale farming run into our water supply too. I used to work for an agricultural survey company. It was so sad speaking to the farmers, learning about the pesticides they were using, and how they were being pushed out by factory farms.
Livestock, cows in particular, are responsible for more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible – at least in part – for global warming.
If you’re thinking about going vegan, there are benefits beyond improving your health. You are also making a great contribution to the environment. It’s a win/win. And ultimately you’re also saving the lives of many animals.
One thing that frightens many people when they consider going vegan is their food options. It can feel like there’s nothing to eat. However, the truth is that vegans have amazing food options! Learn more about transitioning to vegan.
These benefits are not even touching on the animal cruelty aspect of consuming animal products like meat and milk. Even if you can close your eyes to the torture, you can’t ignore the facts and benefits for yourself and the environment.