Veganism – Health benefits and ways your body will love it.
You may have heard about all the advantages going vegan has on the environment and therefore, the health risk you avoid, but here the question arises, how does shifting on a plant-based diet impact your body?
Many people think that weight loss is the only reason why one should switch to a plant-based diet, but only a few know, except shedding those extra kilos, it performs many other vital functions. These functions include reducing the danger of heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol within the body, boosting energy level…and plenty of great reasons! Are you thinking of creating the jump to a vegan diet? Have a glance at what it’s and how it affects your body.
First of all, it’s important to know what a vegan diet is? The vegan diet is devoid of all animal products, including dairy, meat, and eggs. There are varieties of vegan diets, and the most common include:
- Raw Food Vegan Diet – As the name suggests, people following this diet eat their vegan food uncooked. This comes from the belief that cooking food may cause a lot of nutrition loss. This is not to say that all vegan food needs to be cold it could be heated above 40 Celcius.
- The 80/10/10 Low Fat Vegan Diet – It is also called a fruitarian diet. It became quite popular when Doug Graham wrote a book called “ The 80/10/10” diet in 2006. It primarily focuses on eating a lot of fresh, ripe, whole, organic fruits along with some nuts. Many people have turned their backs for this diet reason being, for this diet to get succeeded, one needs a specific climate and a lot of money to spend on.
- Detox Vegan Diet – Though there is no particular definition for this diet, you’ll mostly find fruits and many raw foods. Detoxers usually drink plenty of water and green tea, cutting out coffee and tea. Smoothies and juices are your options if you ever feel drowsy and need a substitute for coffee and tea.
- SOS Free Diet – The term SOS stands for “sugar, oil, salt”. This was popularized by Dr. Alan Goldhamer, who took the basic plant-based diet but eliminated these three stimulants. He said many of his patients shredded more weight and witnessed more energy. Ever wondered why you can’t control the urge of having that chocolate or a pack of chips? This happens because people tend to eat more when the food contains salt or sugar. It’s always a good option to eliminate these three and consume whole foods instead.
The list doesn’t end here. We encourage you to do your research and decide the sort which suits your preference. We have discussed in stages what happens to your body when you shift on the plant-based diet:
- First few weeks: During the initial few weeks, you may feel tired. Without meat, it becomes hard for vegans to get enough vitamin B12 and iron which helps to transport oxygen in your body. But there’s nothing supplements or a handful of nuts can’t fix. As the time without animal products grow into weeks, you may find that you’re heading towards the washroom more often. This happens due to the high fiber content of the diet and the increase in carbohydrates that ferment in the gut. You may also find that foods don’t taste the way they used to, that’s because your zinc levels have taken a hit affecting your sense of smell and taste. On the brighter side, you’ll be delighted to know you’ve lost some extra kilos. New vegans lose an average of 10 pounds over 10 months. Woah! Gyming was never this easy as an option.
- Three to six months later: Several months into this diet and you may find that unwanted guest, yes your acne has disappeared. By this time, your vitamin D stores might have dropped because meat and dairy products are the main sources of it in our diet. It is often not noticeable until it’s too late. Make sure you eat plenty of fortified food and take essential supplements, especially during winters.
- From six months to several years: Few years down the road, and your bones will start to notice the changes. Our skeleton is a storehouse for minerals but only up until the age of 30. So, taking calcium and mineral while we’re young is vital. Vegetables like broccoli help to provide essential calcium to bones. Here is the reminder, balance is the key if you’re planning it for an extended period.
Here we come to the 7 ways your body will love you after going plant-based:
- A vegan diet may help you lower your blood pressure – High blood pressure and hypertension are common among people nowadays which leads to high cholesterol and heart stroke. Luckily, what you eat makes a huge difference. Studies have shown that people following a vegan diet had low blood pressure compared to those who followed an omnivorous diet. Vegans have a 34% less risk of hypertension than non- vegetarians.
- A vegan diet helps you to control type 2 diabetes – We all know the link between diet and type 2 diabetes. Plant-based diets reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by reducing extra weight. Insulin resistance is more in an overweight person, exerting high demands on beta cells to produce insulin. By the time, type 2 diabetes is diagnosed half of the beta cells are already dead. Fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that serve as an overall health protector.
- Eating a plant-based meal could help you lose weight – Those who follow a green diet, tend to weigh less even if that’s not the only goal. Your risk of obesity decreases when you swap an animal-based diet for a plant-based one. The major reason behind it is that whole food, grains and vegetables are high on fiber and relatively low on the glycemic index. The fibers in fruits prolong fullness and you don’t feel hungry that often. Can’t stop your hands from searching the jar of cookies and a cold drink while binge-watching your favorite show? Here is your solution, replace those snacks with a bowl of sprouts or beans with a lot of veggies. As you eat, you take in calories that act as fuel for your body, burning them to release usable energy. When you take more than the required calories, your body stores the excess as fat. In order to lose weight naturally, you need to create a calorie deficit.
- A plant-based diet reduces the chances of cancer – The American Institute of Cancer says the best way to source cancer-protective nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals, is to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts.
- Ramping up your plant intake may keep your brain strong – What you eat not only feeds your stomach but your brain too. Your brain is always “on”. It takes care of your thoughts, feelings, movements, breathing, and senses. This means your brain requires fuel to function properly. More simply, what you eat directly affects your brain functioning, ultimately your mood. Like an expensive car, your brain functions better when it gets premium fuel in the form of high-quality food that contains a lot of minerals and nutrients. The antioxidants protect the brain from oxidative stress which may damage brain cells. If your brain is deprived of nutrients, or if free radical or damaging inflammatory cells are circulating, it can cause brain tissue injury. What’s surprising is, for several years no one was able to acknowledge how food is connected to your mood.
- A plant-based diet keeps your heart healthy – Meat contains saturated fat which can lead to heart strokes if eaten in excess. So by thinning out on meat and loading up plants you’re doing yourself a favor. It also reduces bad cholesterol which can lead to fatty deposits in blood restricting the blood flow, causing angina or heart stroke.
You must be wondering how to transit into a plant-based diet? Here are some steps:
- Start slow – Don’t impose a heavy burden on your stomach by replacing everything all of a sudden, instead start slow. Add a few meals at the beginning that you enjoy having like oatmeal, veggie stir fry, lentil soup, etc.
- Cut down processed food intake – Swap animal products with plants one, like swap beef for beans, next to the dairy products which you don’t like anyway.
- Watch your protein – Excessive intake of protein isn’t only unnecessary but also harmful. Always plan your diet well.
- Know your food – It’s very important to know what you’re eating because what suits your friend not necessarily would suit you.
There are some federal government websites designed for you to get advice if you’re planning on taking up a vegan diet.
Equally important to know that eating a plant-based diet helps you in leading a compassionate life. After all, being healthy is not just about what we eat it’s about our consciousness that how aware are we about the choices we make which directly affects our planet and everyone we live with.