Do vegans live longer?
Veganism seems to be the new black, fuelled by the conversion of a number of high-profile celebs such as Alicia Silverstone, Ariana Grande and Ellen DeGeneres to the cruelty-free diet. Diet trends can often be faddish and annoying, but there’s no doubt about it - turning vegan is on-trend. And that’s a good thing, because when it comes to our environment, health, and the rights of animals, adopting a vegan diet is the complete package and an all-around win.
But is it actually good for you? Will a plant-based diet improve your health and help you to live a longer life? The answer, according to Ecowatch, is a resounding yes. Here’s why:
- You actually consume more nutrients because the food that you replace all that meat, dairy and fish with is packed full of vitamins, zinc, calcium and fatty acids.
- You’ll keep your blood sugar under control – studies have found that more vegans with diabetes are able to reduce their medication when compared to non-vegans, and that vegans have a 50–78% lower chance of getting type II diabetes in the future. This is probably due to the fact that vegans tend to consume more whole grains and fibre, which breaks down slowly, keeping blood sugar levels down.
- Plant proteins are generally healthier for your organs, and they encourage optimal liver and kidney production levels. Research in this area is still ongoing but it’s a positive sign for anyone in the early stages of kidney or liver issues.
- A vegan diet can reduce the risk of cancer. Consuming legumes can reduce the likelihood of getting colorectal cancer by as much as 18%, and if you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegies in your diet you’ll reduce your risk of dying of some form of cancer by 15%.
- If you are an arthritis sufferer, a vegan diet can reduce the symptoms, including pain levels. One study showed that people who followed a vegan diet for 6 weeks had higher energy levels and lower pain levels, particularly those who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Vegans have a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease, a 75% lower risk of having high blood pressure (a precursor to heart disease) and have lower cholesterol than meat eaters.
- Animal products tend to be higher in fats (and calories) than the typical vegan fare, which is plant-based. One study found that over an 18-week period, vegans were able to lose 9.3 pounds (4.2 kilos) more than their carnivorous colleagues.
- According to nursingdegree.net, a vegan diet is good for your eyes. That’s because a diet that is full of fresh fruit and vegies (especially the leafy green variety, pumpkin and carrots) can help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration. And because they are high in antioxidants they are also believed to help prevent cataracts.
- Research conducted by Rush University Medical Centre found that vegans may be happier than their meat-eating counterparts. A diet that is high in vegies, fruit and whole grains can lead to a reduced risk of depression.
- When you start eating foods rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, your energy levels will get a boost, whereas eating processed fats and sugars depletes your energy.
If you want to make some changes to your lifestyle and give the vegan diet a whirl, there is plenty of information online to help get you started. The Vegan Society, Vegan Australia and Viva Health all have plenty of tips to make sure you take the right approach when you make the change.
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