There are many reasons why you might consider consuming only vegan food. For some, it is compassion for animals; for others, it is to reduce environmental impact. But for many, the decision to go vegan is health-related. But is a vegan diet really healthy?
The Benefits of a Vegan Food Diet
In fact, eating vegan foods provides many health benefits. Omitting animal products from your diet lowers your cholesterol and significantly reduces your risk of heart disease. A vegan diet has also been shown to reduce the risk of many cancers. Vegan diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. A diet rich in these foods is a diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats, all things that are known to promote health and well being.
Another benefit of following a vegan diet is that vegans are less likely to be overweight, due to the tendency of vegan diets to be lower in fat and calories than non-vegan diets. This means you have less of a chance of developing weight-related health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
The Risks of a Vegan Food Diet
While it is clear that there are many health benefits to the vegan lifestyle, are there risks involved in cutting meat, fish and dairy from your diet? There is often concern that a vegan diet cannot provide adequate protein; however, as long as the diet includes a good variety of whole grains and legumes, getting enough protein is not really an issue.
In fact, the average American diet actually contains far more protein than we need. The other potential risk of a vegan diet is vitamin B12 deficiency. Fortunately, this is easily remedied by making sure you consume foods fortified with this vitamin. Many soy and rice beverages and cereals contain added B12.
With any diet, it is important to eat a variety of foods in order to meet all of your body's nutritional needs. Nourishing your body with a healthy vegan diet can put you on the path to a long, healthy life.
Eating only vegan meals can seem intimidating at first, but you can still enjoy many of your favorite dishes by using vegan substitutes for animal ingredients.