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    Health Benefits Of A Vegan Lifestyle For Women And Men

    According to scientific research carried out in 2017 by the research firm Globaldata, there has been a huge increase in the population of vegans in the United States in a span of three years. People around the world are also embracing the vegan lifestyle for a lot of reasons, which relate to ethical, environmental and most importantly, the health benefits to men and women – read on to find out about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

    There is however an ideal way to balance a plant-based diet in order to enjoy all its benefits while preventing nutritional deficiencies.

    What Is A Vegan Lifestyle And Vegan Diet?

    A vegan lifestyle is one that encompasses all forms of prevention against animal exploitation, which means the avoidance of any animal-based food. In addition to the obvious avoidance of meat, the lifestyle also does not include products like eggs, milk and dairy products as well as avoiding the use of animal-derived materials such as leather and fur. 

    A vegan meal is entirely plant based; Vegan meals don’t contain any food that is of animal origin. The meal usually consists of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. These foods provide many essential nutrients the body needs for its proper function. However, a vegan meal could cause  malnutrition as some essential proteins needed by the body are only present in animal-based diets.Therefore, an ideal vegan lifestyle involves proper planning of each meal and the addition of protein supplements that may be lacking from consuming only plant-based foods.

    What Are The Benefits Of A Vegan Lifestyle?

    The prevention of all forms of animal exploitation by avoiding animal-based food and animal-sourced products has both environmental benefits and health benefits.

    4 Environmental Benefits Of A Vegan Lifestyle 

    In 2018, The United Nations stated that one of the pressing issues in the world today is animal agriculture and meat production. The vegan lifestyle, which leads to reduced animal production and improved plant production, indirectly affects humans by the following environmental effects:

    1. Conservation of natural resources: An increased consumption of meat and animal products causes a large part of the natural resources utilized in the production of meat products and rearing of animals. That is in terms of the food these animals are fed, space these animals occupy and other effects like deforestation and pollution they cause. Therefore, the increased transition into a vegan lifestyle by the world population will lead to more efficient utilization of natural resources used in animal production. Also, water conservation is better achieved through a vegan lifestyle, as animal production accounts for about 93% of the world’s water usage.
    2. Reduction of pollution: Adopting a vegan lifestyle will increase plant production. Plants contribute to cleaning the soil and preventing soil pollution. Studies also found that it also contributes to cleaning the air and preventing air pollution by cutting emitted greenhouse gases in half.
    3. Reducing energy consumption: adopting a vegan lifestyle will reduce energy consumed by animal production, which encompasses feed production, breeding and other operating activities.
    4. Preserving species and natural habitats: Animal production and rearing require the utilization of a large plot of land; this will often lead to the destruction of natural habitats, causing the extinction of species. However, transition into a vegan lifestyle will cause the preservation of species and natural habitats.

    3 Short-Term Health Benefits Of A Vegan Lifestyle 

    Health advantages are reported from individuals required to go vegan for a short while due to medical conditions. The following are a few of the health benefits of living on the vegan lifestyle for a month:

    1. Enhances more energy: Reviews have suggested that switching from an animal-based meal to a vegan lifestyle in a month will improve one’s daily energy for required activities. It is suggested that the increased energy is accounted for by the increased intake of healthier meals containing more fruits and vegetables, which also boosts productivity.
    2. Improved skin complexion: Several reviews have mentioned the impact of this lifestyle on their skin. Fruits and vegetables, alongside all vegan ingredients, contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which reduces the risk of skin damage, skin cancer and improves skin.
    3. Enhances weight changes: switching from a meat-based diet to a vegan style has shown to produce a desired weight change for many. According to several reviewers, burning calories was easily achieved by going vegan because plant-based food contains fewer calories than meat. Veganism helps maintain a healthy weight. 

    6 Long-Term Health Benefits Of A Vegan Lifestyle

    Studies have suggested the following long term benefits of going vegan.

    1. Veganism reduces risk of cancer

    It is not strange to link “going vegan” to reduced cancer risk. Red meat is said to contain carcinogens, compounds that are believed to cause cancer; red meat is classified as a category 2 carcinogen by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Processed meat-based food also contributes to a cancer-causing risk, as processed meat is far more dangerous than non-processed. Processed meat, like bacon and pepperoni, are among the category 1 carcinogens, as classified by the WHO. Therefore, studies suggest that switching to a plant-based diet and/or a reduced intake of meat will reduce the cases of cancer by third.The antioxidants compounds produced by a lot of plants also contribute to the resistance plant-based food has against cancerous cells, as these antioxidants have protective characteristics. 

    1. Vegan diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

    Cardiovascular diseases are more likely to be caused by food containing saturated fatty acids, trans-fat or high cholesterol. These compounds can cause the arteries to be clogged, thus leading to cardiovascular complications. 

    Meat-based food like meat hamburger, meatballs, and sausages will likely be the source of these compounds rather than plant-based food. Vegan meals contain no dietary cholesterol, contain little saturated fat, and if not, adequately based on nutritive antioxidants, and more importantly, lack trans-fat.

    1. Eating vegan can manage diabetes and reduce its risk 

    Veganism, as a means of managing chronic ailments, has been found to be effective for people who have diabetes. Diabetics cannot process their sugar into energy and thus retains this sugar in the blood. Excess sugar in the blood can lead to damages to important body organs like the retina and the livers. 

    Diabetics require less sugar and less cholesterol in their diets. An animal-based diet is more likely to spike up sugar and cholesterol levels of a diabetic compared to plant-based food. Plants are also known to contain a significant amount of antioxidants, which are protective in nature. These antioxidants have been found to reverse type-2 diabetes. Powerful antioxidants can be found in plant-sourced oils, spices and nuts.

    Plant-based food improves insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the major cause of type-2 diabetes. The hormones responsible for converting excess sugar in the body, insulin, could be non-receptive to commands and thus lead to sugar retention. However, whole diets and plant-based food improves insulin resistance by making this hormone more receptive to commands. 

    1. Vegan foods improve kidney function

    One suffering from chronic kidney problems or usually supports his kidneys by dialysis is advised by dieticians to take in more protein.

     However, it is advisable to opt for plant protein sources rather than animal protein sources. It has been found that plant protein benefits kidney patients by reducing proteins in urine, reducing kidney tissue damages compared to that caused by animal proteins, reducing kidney cyst growth and improving lipid levels in the blood.

    1. Veganism can reduce arthritis pain

    Several studies suggest that a plant-based diet has anti-inflammatory effects on arthritis patients. The sufficiency of fruits and vegetables in a vegan meal will only be of help to such patients by combating inflammation and reducing pain, stiffness and joint pain.

    1. Eating plant-based foods and mood

    Studies have shown that eating a vegan diet improves the mood. Several studies have compared the mental attitudes of vegans and meat-eaters and have found that meat-eaters experience more negativity and mood variations than vegans [3] . 

    Depression has also been found to be more common among meat-eaters than plant-eaters. Nutritionists suggest that some compounds like the complex carbohydrates in a plant-based meal can stimulate the production of hormones like serotonin in the brain, which makes one feel good.

    Is The Vegan Lifestyle For Everyone?

    Anyone and everyone can go vegan. Dieticians however have suggested that the following categories will benefit most from the vegan lifestyle.

    • those suffering from some chronic ailments
    • the elderly 

    What Are Some Benefits Of A Vegan Diet For Men?

    A vegan diet is more common with women, however, there are many advantages to the vegan lifestyle that specifically renders to men. These include:

    • Aids infertility – the advantages of fruits and vegetables support reproduction. Meat and full-fat meals are linked to infertility issues with men. It is said that men who rely on plant-based diets are more fertile, with more and better quality sperm. Plant-based diets will also lower the risk of impotence in men, as these contain no dietary cholesterol, which is capable of blocking blood flow in arteries to vital reproductive organs.
    • Protects against prostate cancer – the nutrients and antioxidants present in a plant-rich diet protect men from the risk of prostate cancer in addition to other forms of cancer. More so, a vegan lifestyle does not involve the intake of carcinogenic compounds contained in meat, which itself could be cancerous.
    • Combats obesity – an obese man is at the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease. They are also at risk of developing different forms of cancer. It is for these reasons that combating obesity is of importance. A solution to obesity is a plant-based diet which is high in fruits and vegetables, grains and nuts, containing less fat and cholesterols to maintain a healthy weight.
    • Physical fitness – A diet that truly supports a fitness journey is one loaded in plant-based foods. Oftentimes meat can be processed and loaded with preservatives and sugar, which is unfavorable to being physically fit. To achieve muscle mass and get rid of fat, plant-based food is necessary. 

    What Are Some Benefits Of A Vegan Diet For Women?

    According to dieticians, plants-based diets are popular with women and include benefits such as: 

    • Skin – women who are troubled by their skin condition find that the increase in fruits and veggies helps return their skin to balance where they experience less breakouts
    • Improves mood swings – depression has been linked with brain inflammation. Plant-based foods contain high amounts of antioxidants which helps in repairing and decreasing brain cell damage. Evidence also suggests it helps improve mood. 

    What Are Some Benefits Of A Vegan Diet For Senior Citizens?

    Senior citizens stand more risk of having their internal organs suffer damage when they do not eat healthy. The following are the benefits of a plant-based diet for the elderly:

    • Slows down aging – vegetables, fruits, grains and other plant-sourced food have been found to slow down the aging process by affecting the activities of hormones and enzymes as well as maintaining a young-looking skin and complexion.
    • Improved immune system – fruits and vegetables are known to boost one’s immunity. Plant-based food, in addition, reduces the risk of developing a number of diseases; it reverses the occurrence of some conditions and helps in the management of others. 
    • Improves sleep – the importance of sleep to the elderly cannot be overemphasized. Plant-based food contains compounds like tryptophan, vitamin B6, which increases the levels of melatonin in order to effect sound sleep.

    Health Benefits Of A Vegan Lifestyle For Kids

    Kids are mostly at risk of malnutrition when plant-based diets are not properly planned. However, if administered correctly, there are benefits to the vegan lifestyle for children, which are:

    • Improved immunity
    • Reduced risk of heart diseases and cancer
    • Management of diabetes
    • Healthier skin
    • Enhanced cognitive functions like mood improvement, improved mental health, improved memory, etc

    Can You Miss Out On Nutrients With A Vegan Diet?

    For one to enjoy the benefits of the vegan lifestyle and not suffer from malnutrition, proper research and planning is needed. Proper planning involves incorporating essential nutrients found common in meat to the plant-based meals as supplements. Some examples of such nutrients are:

    Conclusion

    The environmental benefits of a vegan lifestyle have a positive effect on one’s health as well. Several nutritionists recommend a transition to the vegan lifestyle because of its improving effects on life challenging conditions, as well as maintaining the beauty of a healthy person. It is important however that the diet is planned for it to be effective and healthy.

    References:

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