Benefits Of Following A Vegetarian Or A Vegan Diet
While eating vegan was once thought to be simply a hippie fad, studies have shown that a diet free of animal products can actually provide a huge number of benefits. More and more, people are adopting a vegan lifestyle – including celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Alicia Silverstone, Zooey Deschanel, and even Albert Einstein.
Not only will cutting out animal products help you feel better about your carbon footprint and your impact on the planet, you can also benefit as an individual. A meat-free diet means consuming more foods with fiber, vitamins C and E, unsaturated fats, folic acid, magnesium, and phytochemicals – which can have a huge impact on your overall health and wellness.
Research shows that the arachidonic acid found in dietary animal sources can lead to mood disturbances. Since vegetarian and vegans diets are considerably lower in arachidonic acid, individuals who follow these diets show a generally improved mood. Mental health assessments have also revealed that vegetarians show lowered levels of neuroticism.
The mood boosting effects of the many vitamins and minerals found in plant-based foods can also benefit your mental health, stimulating the production of hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins in your brain. Anyone who struggles with issues like depression or anxiety can benefit from adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Helps weight loss.
Dairy and meat products have high levels of saturated fats, which can contribute to weight gain. By making the switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet, you’ll be eating healthier, more nutritious meals that will leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied – leaving you less likely to binge on unhealthy foods that will prevent you from achieving your weight loss goals.
Eating a plant-based diet will also give you more energy and help you sleep better, encouraging an active lifestyle that will support healthy weight loss. Not only will you have more motivation to hit the gym and get in a good workout, you’ll be able to get a solid rest after – letting your body rebuild damaged tissue and muscle.
Boosts immune system.
Vegans and vegetarians eat a ton of fruits and vegetables – foods which are rich in antioxidants and other essential nutrients. All of these vitamins and minerals keep your body functioning effectively and efficiently, stimulating your metabolism and your immune system so that you are better able to fight off any cold or flu symptoms.
One thing to keep in mind is that vegan and vegetarian diets can be lower in protein, iron, and zinc, which can lead to decreased immune function. It’s important that even without animal-based proteins, your diet is still well-balanced. Supplement with legumes, nuts, and other protein- and iron-rich foods to ensure that your switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet is still meeting all your nutritional requirements.
Certain cancers can be prevented through diet control – almost one-third of cancers, according to the World Health Organization. A recent study revealed that vegans show a reduced risk of developing or dying from cancer. In particular, eating a diet free of animal products may protect vegans and vegetarians against prostate, colon, and breast cancers, in particular.
Healthier skin, nails, and hair.
People who follow vegan diets have glowing skin, shiny hair, and strong nails – and you can, too. Some of the vitamins and antioxidants found in plant-based foods help build and strengthen collagen, which keeps your hair, skin, and nails looking and feeling their best. Fine lines and wrinkles will be less noticeable, and even scars will fade as a result of fueling your body with these nutritious, vitamin-packed foods.
The endotoxins that are present in meat can also impact your body, causing inflammation and stress that is particularly visible on your skin. Choosing a diet free of these harmful toxins can help make you look younger and even feel younger.
With this lifestyle gaining in popularity more each day, it’s easier than ever to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet. There are tons of great vegan recipes available online, and if you’re not in the mood to cook at home, you can still dine out at local vegan-friendly restaurants. Make the switch to eating animal-free, and see your new vegan diet can make you healthier and happier.