A vegan diet appears to be useful for increasing the intake of protective nutrients and phytochemicals and for minimizing the intake of dietary factors implicated in several chronic diseases. A vegetarian diet is associated with many health benefits because of its higher content of fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and many phytochemicals and a fat content that is more unsaturated.
Here are 7 reasons why you should go vegan today!
1. Compared with other vegetarian diets, vegan diets tend to contain less saturated fat and cholesterol and more dietary fiber.
- Vegans tend to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, reducing their risk of heart disease.
- Vegans, compared with omnivores, consume substantially greater quantities of fruit and vegetables. A higher consumption of fruit and vegetables, which are rich in fiber, folic acid, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, is associated with lower blood cholesterol concentrations , a lower incidence of stroke, and a lower risk of mortality from stroke and ischemic heart disease.
- Fruit and vegetables are described as protective against cancer of the lung, mouth, esophagus, and stomach and to a lesser degree some other sites, whereas the regular use of legumes provides a measure of protection against stomach and prostate cancer.
- Vegans also have a higher consumption of whole grains, soy, and nuts , all of which provide significant cardioprotective effects.
- Red meat and processed meat consumption are consistently associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer . Those with highest red meat intake had elevated risks of esophageal, liver, colorectal, and lung cancers than did those with lowest red meat intake
- As long as the calcium and vitamin D intake of vegans is adequate, their bone health is probably not an issue because their diet contains an ample supply of other protective factors for bone health.
Few words of caution
However, eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids. Unless vegans regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients, appropriate supplements should be consumed. In some cases, iron and zinc status of vegans may also be of concern because of the limited bioavailability of these minerals.
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