The following is a guest post by life coach Jane Sandwood.
According to statistics, veganism has seen a surge in popularity over the last two years and, as of 2016, 25 percent of Canadians were trying to reduce the amount of red meat they eat. In fact, the rise in veganism is thought to be behind the overall decline in the consumption of milk in Canada. Why has veganism risen in popularity? It may be due to the scrumptious recipes and cleaner lifestyle that it provides. So which foods or recipes should you include to reap the full benefits of a vegan diet?
According to studies, vegan diets tend to be richer in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, folic acid and fiber but lower in cholesterol and saturated fats. A leading cause of cardiovascular disease is obesity, therefore a vegan diet could help combat this. Research shows that vegans had 44 percent lower levels of cholesterol than their meat-eating counterparts as well as a lower Body Mass Index. Adding grains, soy, nuts and lots of fruit and vegetables to your diet can provide protection against heart problems in later life.
Research shows that veganism could have potential benefits for those with Type 2 diabetes. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Medicine showed that half of patients with diabetes no longer required insulin after changing to a full vegan diet. Some did not need insulin at all and most did not experience the sharp, painful symptoms of the condition. The patients were also required to participate in frequent exercise. Regular activity will help combat obesity, a leading cause of diabetes. Stock up on foods rich in magnesium, a blood sugar reducing agent to help prevent diabetes. Lots of leafy vegetables, avocados, nuts and seeds will provide this nutrient.
A 2015 study published in Arthritis showed that the bone health of several patients with osteoarthritis significantly improved with a change to a plant-based diet. The energy levels and physical abilities were greatly improved after weekly self-assessments. Traditional omnivores commonly obtain their source of calcium from dairy products but vegans are able to obtain calcium via kale, okra, spring greens,chia seeds and almonds. Alternatively, a calcium fortified plant milk can provide calcium for healthier bones.
It appears that veganism is the way to go for those who are considering changing to a healthier, cleaner lifestyle. Although the diet provides lots of nutritional benefits, remember to supplement your diet with sources which normally come from meat such as iron and Vitamin B12 for blood health.