If you dread your annual physical examination because your test results reveal all your dietary sins, consider changing to a vegan diet. Many people eliminate meat products from their meals for ethical and environmental reasons, but the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet are well known. Removing all animal products from your daily menu can bring a number of significant benefits to your health, so you can enjoy a longer, healthier and more active life.
What Is A Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet eliminates all animal products. This includes not only the meat from cattle, poultry and fish, but also all products that come from animals, such as eggs, milk or cheese. Common foods in a vegan diet are stir-fried vegetables, pasta, whole-grain breads, bean salads, baked beans and a host of vegetables that can be adapted into traditional recipes.
Because vegans do not eat meat, which is a food source rich in protein, they must fill their protein needs with other foods, such as tofu, beans, lentils, spinach, soy products and chickpeas. Another important part of the diet is the elimination of all processed foods, which are made with high amounts of salt, sugar and fat that are detrimental to optimum health.
Individuals who eat a vegan diet generally have lower body weight than those who consume meat along with other foods. A leaner body is associated with less risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and joint disease. A vegan diet removes the animal fat and focuses on healthier, unsaturated fats such as olive oil and canola oil. These choices make weight loss easier and allow individuals to maintain their leaner form.
Lower Lipids Levels
Lipids are another word for fat. When your doctor orders a blood test for cholesterol, he or she hopes to learn how much of this component is in your bloodstream, which can provide some information on how well your blood vessels are working and how well your heart is functioning. A high level of low-density lipids is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, but you can lower these numbers by eating a plant-based vegan diet that eliminates the animal fats that contribute to high cholesterol and cardiovascular problems.
Lower Blood Pressure
The emphasis on eliminating processed foods and using healthier oils in vegan diets can help to lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke. Using less salt can also help to ensure that your blood pressure remains within normal range. Refraining from processed foods that contain ingredients that can raise blood pressure also has a beneficial effect.
Improved Blood Sugar Levels
Vegan diets also focus on foods like lentils and beans, which slow down how food is absorbed in the intestines, so that sufficient insulin is produced to remove glucose from the body. If your doctor is concerned about high blood sugar levels, changing to a vegan diet can be an effective way to reduce these numbers.
A plant-based, vegan diet can also improve intestinal function. Many research studies link the consumption of animal products with an increased risk for colorectal cancer. Consumption of a plant-based diet, with its high amounts of fiber and antioxidants, helps to keep the cells of the digestive system functioning normally.
The natural benefits of a vegan diet are making it a popular choice for people of all ages. You can make your annual physical exam a cause for celebration, not concern, if you stick to a diet without animal fat, refined sugar and processed foods.