Veganism used to be a simple trend that belonged to a minority population. Today, however, it is a philosophy as well as a social movement for many across the world! Google Trends has tracked veganism’s popularity as a search term since 2004, and in 2016 veganism finally caught up with the term “meat” and has consistently surpassed it in popularity since.
Interestingly, the sales of plant-based foods have also grown, particularly as global levels of health consciousness increased. It’s clear that there’s a relationship between vegan diets and health, but is this backed up by clinical research? Let’s take a closer look below.
Healthy for your body
Many may switch to veganism because of physical health reasons. Nearly half of adults in the United States, 47%, have hypertension, whereas more than one-third, 36.6%, are overweight or obese. These conditions benefit from vegan diets.
The reason is that vegan diets tend to be high in fiber and low in cholesterol, protein, calcium, and salt. Consistent evidence in Translational Psychiatry shows the short- to moderate-term benefits of plant-based diets, including weight status, energy metabolism, and systemic inflammation. The lower levels of cholesterol are also related to a lower risk of heart disease.
This means more opportunities to develop novel preventive and therapeutic strategies against obesity, eating disorders, and other co morbidities. The positive effects on brain health and cognitive functions are being explored, as well as any other underlying mechanisms.
Healthy for your mind
A vegan diet provides benefits for your mind. Mental health conditions are becoming globally prevalent and mental health data compiled by Maryville University shows that one in five adults in the United States has a mental illness. On the other hand, one in six children has a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. Untreated, these disorders could lead to severe life-threatening crises in adulthood, which is why many families seek holistic healing through lifestyle and dietary changes. Here, vegan diets make a popular appearance.
Antioxidants and other nutrients, proven to be protective against depressive symptoms, are abundant in vegan diets. The phytochemical quercetin, found only in plant foods like kale or berries, increases the amounts of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain too. Additionally, tryptophan, which can be derived from leafy greens and sunflower seeds, is readily converted into serotonin.
Otherwise, ethically sourced vegan diets also bring about positive feelings, such as altruism and a sense of purpose. A study published on NCBI found that consciously abstaining from the consumption of animal products could lead to less personal guilt. Mostly, regarding the environment or animal welfare. This could contribute to a better psychological state.
Reminders for aspiring vegans
Unhealthy vegan diets also exist. For one, people may inadvertently consume high levels of processed plant foods, a known risk factor for increased depression. It is also possible for people to fail to regulate their intake of vitamin B12, which has been linked to depression and stroke. This is also true of PUFAs, which are crucial for brain function.
Our tips to a long life listed in Healthy Vegan Diet, therefore, stress consuming a balanced diet of fresh produce alongside other non-processed foods such as nuts and legumes. Protein is easily found in all sorts of food beyond meat or dairy, but vitamin B12 may be a little harder to find in vegan diets. There is a low daily requirement for B12, and fortified foods can provide it. Supplements are also readily available.
To better stick to a healthier vegan diet, having emotional support helps! That is why Veggly, the world’s number one vegan dating app, helps you find your Veg-Love so that you can share meals in peace and enjoy each other’s company. Together, we can spread the love for ourselves, each other, and the planet.
Article written for the exclusive use of veggly.net
By Alicia Colin