A vegan diet is something that more people are trying. Some people will adopt a vegan diet because it is environmentally friendly, whereas other people will do it because they believe it is healthier.
There are plenty of A-list celebrities that encourage a vegan diet and believe it is just as good as a diet that contains meat. There is a documentary on Netflix called ‘Game Changers’ that stars both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lewis Hamilton and there are many other celebrities who are advocates of vegan diets. Although people are sceptical about whether or not a vegan diet is good for you, here are a few ways that it can help to improve your health!
Improves Your Immune System
A vegan diet is full of different vitamins and minerals which is great for the immune system. Not to mention that it also contains many phytochemicals and antioxidants which are great for keeping the body generally healthy.
Our immune system is what we need to help fight off any cases of flu or viruses that can damage our body. The immune system is the first line of defence and we rely on it heavily for anything that does not belong in our body. Additionally, our immune system recognises mutating cells and acts before it causes too much damage. The wide variety of fruits and vegetables in a vegan diet can help to protect the body against all of these things.
Some of the nutrients that are consumed by eating fruit and vegetables can also help resolve inflammation. Not only do they boost the immune system but can also get rid of the toxins that we get from bacteria, pollution and viruses, as well as other things that could damage our body.
A healthy diet can reduce the chances of inflammation and potentially stop it. However, if it is not recognised in the body early on, it can cause serious damage to your health. Eating foods that are not good for you can lead to obesity and/or, increase the chances of you having type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and other diseases. So, there are plenty of healthy foods that are in a vegan diet that can help to reduce inflammation.
Kale, spinach, cauliflower, beetroot and carrots are all full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so try to incorporate these in your diet.
Contains A Lot of Fibre
There are numerous nutrients that come with a vegan diet and one of the main nutrients that a vegan diet is rich in is fibre. Luckily many plant based foods are naturally high in fibre which improves the health of your gut, as it can carefully break down the different foods that you consume.
Not only does it improve the health of your gut but it also helps lower your cholesterol and balances your blood levels. Another thing that is good with fibre is that it is for bowel management. Health experts suggest that you should have at least 30 grams of fibre so try your best to include this in your diet. The foods that contain a lot of fibre are usually very accessible and delicious! These foods are whole wheat cereals, wholewheat pasta, broccoli, potatoes with skin, brown rice and many more.
Less Saturated Fats
Meat and dairy contain high amounts of saturated fat, making vegan diets a healthier option. Although plant-based items like palm oil or coconut oil contain healthier saturated fats, making them a fantastic replacement for butter or animal fats in cooking. So, even if you don’t go completely plant based, swapping out your current cooking oils for alternatives is a great first step.
Negatives of a Vegan Diet For Your Health
There are lots of positives with a vegan diet such as being high in fibre as well as all the vitamins that come with fruits and vegetables. However, a vegan diet is not suitable for everyone so some negatives come with eating plant-based foods.
A vegan diet lacks vitamin B12 which is often found in meat products. These can be foods such as; red meat, white meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, all of which will of course not be found in a vegan diet. Although vitamin B12 is something that we need a lot of, scientists recommend that we have at least 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.
It is also difficult to consume enough iron as a vegan, as much like vitamin B12, it is often found in meat products. It can be found in other foods such as spinach, legumes, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, lentils, tomato paste and mushrooms.
Our body needs to consume vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, so if you have any health issues it is recommended that you go see a doctor and see if you are deficient in any of them. We need iron for the growth and development of our body. We need vitamin B12 to keep our cells healthy as well as the nervous system.
Doctors know best and nine times out of ten, they can explain the reason behind your symptoms. You should also check with your doctor before consuming any supplements that you think you might need.
There is one more vitamin that you might lack in and that is vitamin D. Vitamin D can be accessed through your diet but also through sunshine. If you come into direct contact with the sunlight your body automatically produces vitamin D. Vitamin D is great for improving the health of your skin as well as many other bodily functions such as reducing levels of stress.
If you live in a country that is not that sunny then you should target foods that contain vitamin D. Again, you could be deficient in this vitamin so a doctor might suggest you take vitamin D tablets, just to make sure that you get your daily intake.
There are many diets out there that can make you healthier and some are a lot better than others. However, if you want to try something new, give veganism a go. Many people will require different diets and some people will need certain vitamins more than others. The best advice if you want to be healthy is to see a nutritionist and they can advise on what is best for your body.