In the past 5-10 years, the vegan diet has been a talking point the world over. Australians have been quick to catch on this new dietary lifestyle choice with many of those following the diet quickly becoming evangelists for the cause. The vegan diet, quite simply, is part of a lifestyle which excludes the consumption or use of any products which come from animals.
As animal products are renowned as important sources of protein, iron, vitamins and minerals, vegans must find alternatives sources of these key nutrients. Many choose to follow the vegan diet as they wish to prevent cruelty to animals and want to minimise their individual negative impact on the world around us. There are many scientifically-proven health benefits of ‘going vegan’ and below are some of the most significant reasons to jump on the vegan train:
There have been numerous studies on the impact of the vegan lifestyle and it almost always comes out on top when compared to other popular diets such as the Atkins diet on one front, weight loss. A healthy vegan diet is heavily based on fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains, which are not calorie-dense foods. Additionally, the vegan diet is rich in fibre so those who choose it will remain full for longer, meaning they’re less likely to snack or succumb to pesky cravings.
Vegans consume significantly less saturated fat than their meat-eating counterparts. This can dramatically reduce the risk of vegans contracting heart disease and other illnesses associated with the Western diet such as obesity, diabetes, certain cancers and gall stones to name just a few. This is generally attributed to the increased consumption of fibre, vitamin C and all the other nutrients associated with fresh fruit and vegetables which strengthen the immune system.
The extra vitamin C vegans consume can boost collagen production in humans leading to smoother, brighter, clearer skin along with better vision and less macular degeneration. Jackpot!
Positive Environmental Impact
In pre-historic times, meat and animal products were a core and vital source of nutrition for our fore-fathers as there was access to far fewer alternatives. However, a 2010 UN report indicated that a global shift from the consumption of animal products needed to happen. The reasoning behind this suggestion was that the environment couldn’t sustain the current level of animal consumption, not to mention the further issues population growth will cause. Breeding, raising and feeding animals to be consumed as food is having a detrimental impact on our planet and continuing in the current vein is unsustainable in the long-term.
The final health benefit of this article is potentially the most obvious, the welfare of our animals. Inhuman agricultural practices are rife as each animal inevitably has a monetary value on their head. Regardless of how much we love and care for animals in our daily lives, there is often an element of ‘turning a blind eye’ to how an animal was treated before it ended up on our plate.
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