World Vegan Day is coming up on the 1st of November, and with the global vegan community growing significantly each year, it’s bound to be a big day. In the US alone, the vegan community grew by 600% between 2014 and 2017. Vegan alternatives are becoming easier to obtain and switching to a vegan diet can now be smoother than you’d expect. Couple a vegan food plan with a comprehensive health insurance policy, like the ones available on Finserv MARKETS, and you can rest assured that the future of your health and your family’s is, for the most part, secure.
Understanding the benefits of a vegan diet can make the switch more comfortable for you. So, if you’re curious about whether a vegan diet is really good for the body, here’s a weigh-out of the pros and cons of this food plan.
Benefits of eating vegan foods
Lower blood sugar levels:
People with type 2 diabetes and kidney problems can benefit from a vegan diet. Vegan options contain more dietary fiber and less saturated fat than vegetarian foods. This, in turn, leads to lower resistance to insulin. Consequently, vegans have lower levels of blood sugar and a higher sensitivity to the pancreatic hormone. This reduces their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by around 50% to 78%. Additionally, a soy-based diet can improve the health profile of young adults who suffer from type 1 diabetes.
Potential weight loss:
The struggle to shed those extra pounds can be frustrating. On average, vegans are thinner than non-vegans and have a comparatively lower BMI. A study conducted over 18 weeks saw that a group of corporate employees who adopted a plant-based low-fat diet experienced an average loss of 4.3kg when compared with a group that didn’t adopt this diet. Reaching the ideal body weight makes you healthier and lowers your risk for disease. This also has another advantage – you pay lower premiums on your health insurance.
Protection against cancer:
The rates of cancer incidence are rising across the globe and a comprehensive cure still remains elusive. This is why it’s heartening to see that adopting a vegan diet can help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Eating at least 7 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables daily can reduce your risk of dying from cancer by 15%. Other plant foods like legumes minimize your risk for developing colorectal cancer. Conversely, eliminating animal products could reduce the incidence of other cancers like colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
Better athletic performance:
The benefits of a vegan diet extend beyond disease prevention alone. With plant-based alternatives offering just as much protein as non-vegan options, athletes find that a vegan food plan not only helps with muscle building and repair, but also improves overall athletic performance. This is because athletes adopt a high-carb diet consisting of good fats, vitamins, and minerals. The holistic composition of this food plan makes the body more capable of performing athletic feats.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle can do a lot of good to the environment as well. Consciously making vegan food choices and cultivating eco-friendly habits can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This move can also repair the ecosystem in the oceans and help restore the delicate balance that exists underwater. Water scarcity would also reduce and more freshwater would be available for human consumption. All of this, in turn, has a great beneficial impact on the collective human health.
Downsides of a Vegan Diet
In spite of the various benefits of a vegan diet on human health, there is a very real possibility of vegans suffering from certain nutritional deficiencies. A vegan diet may be lacking in micronutrients like vitamin B-12 and vitamin D, which are found mostly in meat and dairy products. Long chain omega-3 fatty acids are also of special concern. If vegans are unable to include foods that contain these essential nutrients, it’s advisable to take supplements to ensure that the diet remains wholesome.
Inadequate protein intake:
It’s essential to consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram. A meat-based diet is often richer in protein than a vegan diet. Also, animal sources of proteins are complete, while plant-based protein sources may lack one or more of the essential amino acids needed by the body. And when you opt for vegan alternatives, your go-to options may include lentils and pulses, which may cause digestive discomfort in some people.
Nevertheless, the benefits of a vegan diet far outweigh the downsides. So, if you’ve been uncertain about adopting a vegan diet, it may be time to take the leap and make the switch to a healthier lifestyle. Swap a couple of non-vegan elements in your diet with vegan alternatives, and let your body adjust to the change. Repeat this a month or two later and take it from there until you’ve gone vegan entirely.
While you’re at it, you could also consider safeguarding the future with a Bajaj Allianz health insurance policy, available on Finserv MARKETS. With a vegan diet improving your health significantly, you might just get to the point where your health insurance premiums are lower than you expect.
Also read in detail about the health insurance tax benefits you can avail with various health plans available on Finserv MARKETS.
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