Not too long ago, veganism was thought to be a practice upheld mostly by food-deprived tree huggers who have an unyielding passion for animal rights.
Nowadays, the rest of the world is catching on, and it's not just because more awareness has been created around animal cruelty. The health and wellness benefits of the vegan lifestyle are becoming proven, recognized and indisputable.
Plus, vegan cookbooks prove eating vegan can actually be quite delicious.
If you're thinking about going vegan, you won't regret it. Sure, it involves significant effort, planning and sacrifices – but the benefits are well worth it.
A plant-based diet will dramatically increase your energy levels, promote significant weight loss, improve your overall health, get you glowing skin and much, much more.
Here are six major benefits of following a vegan diet.
1. Weight loss.
Veganism is a great diet for weight loss, and studies have proven this. A recent study involved 1,151 dieters and 12 different diet trials in which participants followed a specific eating regime and their weight loss was monitored.
The diets studied included vegan, vegetarian, animal-based, etc. The vegans lost the most weight – but why? Vegan meals tend to be high in fiber, and fiber-rich, plant-based foods will make you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer, so you're less likely to snack on something naughty an hour post-meal.
Also, by cutting out cheese and dairy from your diet, you're cutting out a huge percentage of unhealthy fats. When vegans cook themselves dinner, it's typically made up of lots of vegetables and whole grains, all of which have a low glycemic index. Low GI foods contribute to weight loss, as do high-fiber foods.
2. Improves overall health.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle can help you prevent a number of different diseases.
For example, studies have shown lower breast cancer rates in countries where women eat less meat and animal products compared to countries where women eat more animal products.
Eliminating dairy products and meat also improves your cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and reduces your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Veganism also combats arthritis, inflammation, asthma and osteoporosis.
Your overall health stands to benefit a remarkable amount if you go vegan sooner rather than later.
3. Anti-aging and beautifying benefits.
Several vegans attribute their healthy, clear and glowing skin to their plant-based diet. Come to think of it, almost all the vegans I know have beautiful skin and look fantastic without makeup.
It makes sense since eating a plant-based diet means they're taking in more vitamins, antioxidants, water and minerals than most people. And it's not just skin that stands to benefit, either. Thanks to all that omega-3 and vitamin A and B, veganism results in healthier nails and fuller, more healthy-looking hair.
Vegans look and feel younger, too, and there's a reason. The vegan diet tends to promote collagen production. This is important since we naturally lose collagen as we age, which makes the skin appear thinner and saggier and causes wrinkles.
The vegan diet results in more collagen production because vegans tend to have a higher vitamin C intake (due to all the fruits and vegetables they eat) and vitamin C boosts collagen.
4. More energy.
Eating foods that are easy on your digestive system will make all the difference when it comes to your energy levels, and animal foods are difficult for your body to digest.
When your digestive system is overworked, you feel lethargic and low on energy. That's why going vegan and eating more plant-based foods will dramatically increase your energy levels. This means you can be more productive during the day, have more energy for the gym and achieve more in your day-to-day.
5. Better sleep quality.
When you become a vegan, you may notice more energy by day – but you'll also notice better sleep quality by night.
Your sleep will improve when you're a vegan, and it has everything to do with what you're consuming by day. Vegans can't eat meat, eggs or dairy – so they end up eating a lot of nuts, fruits and vegetables instead.
Walnuts, pistachios, pineapple, oranges and cherries are known to help the body produce natural melatonin. Plus, plant-based foods are often high in vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium, which aid in the production of serotonin and help relax the body and mind.
6. You'll help save the planet
Why not be part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem? Vegans save animals, they contribute toward reducing their country's water-intake and their practices help avoid deforestation.
We need significantly less water and less land to produce plant-based foods compared to the amount needed to produce animal-based foods. So, those tree-hugging vegans really are helping save the planet.