Health Advantages Of A Vegan Diet
Scientific studies prove that the vegan nutrition is not only a trend. Because this natural form of nutrition brings along many positive aspects for the health. Finally, scientists came to the result, that the vegan diet is the healthiest form of nutrition 1. In the following article you can read what the advantages of the vegan diet are.
Vegan Diet Is Rich In Nutrients, Fibers And Secondary Plant Compounds
A plant-based diet is, compared to other diets, richer in dietary fiber, carbs, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, iron, magnesium, many phytochemicals like carotenoids and unsaturated fatty acids (especially omega-6 fatty acids) 2 3 4.
Studies have shown that a low-fat vegan diet increased the uptake of health protective nutrients and phytochemicals. Simultaneously this diet form leads to a reduced intake of dietary factors that have been associated with several chronic diseases 5.
Veganism Makes You Slim
Generally, vegans are slimmer and healthier than omnivores (people who eat everything) 6. Amongst other things, this is caused by the high density of energy and too much protein in animal products like milk and meat. Current studies from 2015 attest the tendency to weight loss with a vegan diet. With a plant based nutrition, 1,151 participants lost in average 2,52 kg in an 18 week term 7. That does not sound that much, but this provides a healthy and lasting weight loss. Lifestyle magazines often solicit crash diets, but they are not healthy. Instead, they lead to the well-known yoyo effect, because the diet is changed for a short time only and is based on a massive too low intake of energy. Different to these diets, the vegan nutrition does not expect an emergency program from the body.
Animal Products As An Disease Elicitor
Products with an animal source are able to provoke numerous diseases. They contain too much of unhealthy fats and cholesterol which thickens the blood, and that can lead to arteriosclerosis.
Furthermore, a study from 2009 showed that the consumption of red and processed meat is associated with an increase in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality is brought in connection 8. When meat is processed with high temperatures, carcinogenic bonds develop (heterocyclic amines) 9.
Additionally, many people are not aware of the fact, that animal products can contain arrears of antibiotic and heavy metals.
Milk Makes You Sick
Studies have shown that milk contains high levels of bovine estrogen and progesterone that cause hormonal changes in children and adults 10. Scientists question a causal or contributory role of cow’s estrogen in prostate cancer, testicular cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer 11 12. In addition, a study with a small number of participants showed, that milk consumption reduces the secretion of gonadotropin, followed by a decrease in testosterone secretion 13. Testosterone is a sex hormone. In the male body, it plays an essential role concerning growth and the development of the secondary sexual characteristics.
Approximately 65% of the world's population have a reduced ability to digest lactose after childhood (lactose intolerance) 14. With a vegan diet, there are no problems with lactose intolerance, because there simply is no lactose in plants. This eliminates potential symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain, caused by dairy products.
Better balance of acids and bases
A small study with 10 vegans, 16 ovo-lacto-vegetarians and 16 meat eaters showed that the urine of the vegan living people contains less acid 15. In average, the vegans' pH-value is 6.15, the value of the ovo-lacto-vegetarians 5.9 and the meat eaters value 5.74. In conclusion, the vegan diet makes the body build less acids in general. That makes it easier for the body to keep the balance of acids and bases (balance in the blood plasma). Small deviations from the normal value of 7.4 pH already can have significant impacts on the wellness and organs.
Reducing Osteoporosis Risk
Sulfur containing amino acids (especially cystine and methionine) from animal proteins like milk and curd bond calcium from the bones and weaken them 16. The concentrated protein in animal meat and cow's milk contributes the loss of calcium by the kidney, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones 17 18. According to John D. Grant, plant proteins are excellent for the health of the bones and avoid osteoporosis, if calcium and vitamin D are available in sufficient amounts in the body.
Additionally, both of the minerals potassium and magnesium, which are contained in high amounts in the vegan diet, as well as fruits and vegetables in general help to keep healthy levels of bone mineral density 19 20 21. See the foods foods rich in potassium and foods that contain magnesium here.
Lifestyle Diseases Do Not Exist In Veganism
Concerning vegans, lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and heart- and vascular diseases do not exist in practice. Therefore, a plant-based diet is recommended by scientists to the patients who are suffering from these diseases 22. Furthermore, vegans suffer from overweight only unfrequently and have a smaller BMI in general 23 24.
Reducing Cholesterol Levels With Plants
Vegan diet is basically free of cholesterol, because plant foods contain no cholesterol. Therefore, vegans have the lowest cholesterol levels 25 26. By the consumption of fruits and vegetables the 'bad' LDL cholesterol can be lowered 27. Fruits, vegetables and plant fats also reduce the risk of stroke and chronic heart diseases 28 29. Strokes are often triggered by high blood pressure.
Increasing The Lifespan
The mortality rate of a plant based diet is smaller the one of non-vegetarian (14% for men) 30 31. Another study in Sweden has shown, that the consumption of five portions of fruits and vegetables a day increases he expectation of life by three years 32.
Prevent And Fight Cancer
According to Prof. Dr. T. Colin Campbell's the 'China Study' you can reverse cancer and heart diseases with the help of vegan diet. Scientists discovered, that vegan ingredients like garlic can decrease the risk of lung cancer remarkably 33. A diet rich in vitamins prevents cancer of the colon and lungs 34. The consumption of legumes is also associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer 35. Study results from 2015 show, that vegans maybe can profit from a lower risk of prostate cancer 36. According to a study from 2015, vegans maybe profit from a lower risk of prostate cancer 37. In general, the risk was 35% lower as with a conventional diet. Potentially, plant proteins are able to decrease the risk of cancer 38.
According to a study from 2003, it is possible to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 40% by eating twice the amount of fibers. This was tested in population groups with in average low amounts of fiber intake 39. With a vegan diet it is easy to reach this health benefit because it is rich in fibers. Pursuant to a bigger study in 2015 with over 77,000 participants, compared to non-vegetarians vegans have a 16% smaller risk of colon cancer 40 41.
Scientists, who made a study in 2013, concluded from the results that the nutrients in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer 42. Furthermore the vegan diet seems to confer lower risk for overall and female-specific cancer than other dietary habits 43 .
Lowering Blood Pressure
Studies of the University of Oxford confirm that vegans unlike meat eaters have a lower disease incidence of high blood pressure and a lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure 46. That is reasoned with a difference in the body mass index.
You only need 190 gram of legumes a day to lower the blood pressure and to reduce heart problems 47.
Lower Risk Of Cataracts With Vegan Diet
According to a study published in 2011, vegans have a significant lower risk of cataracts in comparison to people who eat a lot of meat 48. The risk was 40% lower. Compared to people who eat small amounts of meat and vegetarians, the risk was 36% and 10% lower. Cataract is a turbidity of the eye lens, which if not treated, can lead to blindness.
Preventing Alzheimer's Disease
Taking a look at preventing the Alzheimer's disease, the vegan diet comes close to the nutrition and live guidelines of a study from 2014 49. The scientists advise:
- Minimize the consumption of saturated fatty acids and trans fats. Saturated fatty acids mainly appear in dairy products, meat and certain oils (coco and palm oil). Trans fats are included in many snacks and fried foods. According to another study, vegans have a smaller intake of saturated fatty acids and trans fats in general 50.
- Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), fruits and whole-grain products should replace meat and dairy products as the main part of the nutrition.
- Prefer foods rich in vitamin E (foods with vitamin E).
With regard to nutrition, vegans should have an eye on the vitamin B12 consumption, which is mostly lower. Therefore it is important for vegans to know, how they can cover the need (sources: chlorella, nori, shiitake mushrooms, white mushrooms, chanterelle as well as dietary supplements in plant based milks and soy yoghurt). Besides a conscious nutrition it is advisable to do endurance training for 40 minutes non-stop three times a week.
The nutrient supply can be improved with well planned vegan diet. This has a positive influence on the sportive performance and the regeneration. This diet form is helpful in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases (for example cancer, heart failure, hypertension, dementia, hypercholesterolemia, gallstones) 51 52. Additionally, there is a huge potential of losing fat and/or weight. The goal is to develop a healthy life style. This includes, besides the diet, sports. Pause every once in a while to calm down and regenerate.