For many vegans, veganism is a lifestyle. However, while not everyone goes vegan to save animals’ lives, everyone can reap the benefits of a vegan diet. While there are admittedly some concerns about getting all the nutrients you need (vegans tend to be lacking in proteins, calcium, and other vitamins that come from animal products), with careful planning those issues can easily be conquered. Here’s a look at some of the health benefits of choosing a vegan lifestyle.
The most essential thing you need most to maintain such a strict diet is self control. Self control is also important in maintaining a healthy weight, particularly if you are prone to overindulging. Many people find that their weight drops almost immediately upon beginning a vegan diet.
In addition to encouraging positive behaviors, this is also partly because of the significantly lower calorie intake vegans have compared to non-vegans. While fish and fowl are generally low in calories, cow, pig, and dairy products tend to be on the high end so you immediately start cutting calories by avoiding those foods.
Another attractive aspect of being vegan is the positive affect the diet can have on your heart. Studies show that veganism may contribute to lower levels of both blood pressure and cholesterol. One study showed an extra 12% drop in LDL cholesterol for vegans versus other diet choices. Another study showed a correlation between a vegetarian (of which vegan could be arguably considered a strict form) diet and fatal ischemic heart disease.
Vegetarians, and thus vegans, not only have lower LDL levels but also less high cholesterol and less chance of dying from heart disease than meat eaters. Maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to keep your heart and veins healthier, thus the health perks of being vegan contribute to each other.
Some sources report that a vegan lifestyle helps prevent some chronic or fatal diseases. In addition to a correlation of healthier hearts, vegans may have a lowered chance of developing Alzheimer's disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and even osteoporosis (despite avoiding dairy products).
Vegans may also have a better chance of avoiding infections like salmonella (although some vegetables do carry those bacteria) or listeriosis. Allergies to milk (lactose intolerance), which cause gastrointestinal distress, become minimally problematic as well.
Avoiding Antibiotics and Hormones
A major concern for many meat eaters is the vast amount of unnatural ingredients that make their way into meats. Many farmers give their animals massive amounts of antibiotics and other hormones to prevent infections in the barnyard and promote growth. An environment with healthier, bigger animals tends to gain a better profit. However, many people are concerned about the consequences of eating these animals overflowing with antibiotics and hormones; sticking to a plant-based diet ensures none of that carry over occurs.