What does it mean to go vegan? It means that you cut all animal products out of your diet. What you’re left with is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. In the balanced vegan diet, you get your protein from nuts, seeds, and legumes. While years ago doctors claimed that you couldn’t get enough protein from just plant-based sources, the medical community is quickly waking up to the reality: plants can give us everything we need for health, energy, and longevity. Here are just a few of the benefits of a vegan diet.

Nutrition

A vegan diet cuts out all meat and dairy products. This also cuts out most of our saturated fats, leading to better cardiovascular health. Leafy greens and nuts give us plenty of magnesium, a mineral important in the absorption of calcium. Also, the vegan diet is high in folate, potassium, and vitamin B6, helping us to maintain high energy levels, keep the immune system healthy, and remove toxins from the body. Top it off with a good dose of fiber and complex carbohydrates, and you’re looking at a formula for healthy, sustained energy.

Disease Prevention

Switching to a vegan diet can help you to avoid all sorts of illnesses. Cardiovascular illnesses are less likely when we reduce the stress on the system. The higher vitamin and mineral blend and lower levels of cholesterol in the vegan diet promote heart health. Breast, colon, and prostate cancer are less likely in those who go vegan, and studies have shown that it is more likely to stop prostate cancer in the early stages by switching to a vegan diet. It’s also a great diet to combat type 2 diabetes. The list doesn’t end there; macular degeneration, cataracts, arthritis, and osteoporosis can all be prevented just by cutting out animal products.

Other Health Benefits

A vegan diet can make you stronger, more attractive, and more energetic. Studies show that it can lead to weight loss and a more healthy body mass index. Top that off with healthier skin, less body odor, and the elimination of bad breath, and you have to wonder why everyone isn’t doing it. A vegan diet can help your nails and hair to grow stronger and healthier, and those who eat this way live an average of six years longer. Plus, they are less troubled by allergies, migraines, and PMS.

Environmentally Friendly

Many people initially go vegan because of a concern for animals. Well, it helps animals tremendously not to eat them, but it helps our planet just as much. Did you know that it takes a huge amount of land and water to sustain a herd of cattle? Far more than is taken for a crop of vegetables. Plus, methane is 18 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2, and a herd of cattle produces more methane than you can imagine. By relying on vegetable sources rather than meat, we reduce the toll on our planet significantly.

Sustainable

In order to feed the animals that we later eat, we use tons of corn and other grains, in addition to more water than is used in any other industry. In a planet where water is becoming the next scarce resource and where people are dying of starvation, the vegan option becomes a choice of survival. Just think: If we only ate plant-based sources of nutrition, there would be enough food to feed everyone on the planet right now. Our water resources would also be far more plentiful. And a simple change in diet is all it would take for you to make a first step towards a more sustainable way of living for all of us.

 

Shades of Yoga is a yoga teacher training company running year-round yoga teacher training courses in Bali and Costa Rica. Details here.

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