Veganism has been gaining a lot of popularity over the last couple of years. Today, plant-based products account for more than 20% of food and beverage dollars spent by Americans, 44% of which are because of beef alternatives. In fact, a recent survey found that most Americans are even willing to give lab-grown meat a try.
This newfound popularity comes at a time when people are getting more conscious about their health – specifically towards bad eating habits. The New York Times wrote an article linking red meat to 8 diseases including cancer. The article found that those who ate a large amount of red meat had a 26% increase of “dying from cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, kidney disease and liver disease.” This reflects a growing trend discussed on Maryville University that points to a rise in chronic illnesses being linked to lifestyle choices. With this research becoming more widely accepted this article will examine some of the benefits of veganism, and how it can contribute to a longer, healthier life.
Veganism and Diabetes
Research by West Virginia University has revealed that around 690 million people will be living with diabetes by the end of 2045. Fortunately, 90% of diabetes diagnoses (type 2) are lifestyle-related, which means that there are natural ways to prevent the progress of the disease. Diabetes is a case of excessive sugar levels – something that can be mitigated by a vegan diet. In particular, those with pre-diabetes are encouraged to consume a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, pulses, and seeds to help regulate sugar levels while maintaining enough energy to still perform daily activities.
Veganism and A Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes are responsible for more than 30% of the total number of deaths worldwide. Additionally, every year, more people are being diagnosed with cardiovascular problems. The good news is that like diabetes, heart health problems are related to lifestyle factors like weight, making them preventable. Body weight and blood pressure are directly linked, and it’s easier to control both when you’re on a fiber-rich plant-based diet.
Animal vs Plant-based Protein
It’s common knowledge that the body needs protein. However, in our post on ‘How Animal Protein Affects the Nervous System’, we discussed how meat – the most common protein source – may not be the best way to get the nutrition our bodies need. Not only are there ethical concerns associated with animal protein, but excessive amounts of it are also not good for our organs.
A diet rich in animal protein or meat is associated with a greater risk of early death. When you eat too much protein, your body produces a lot of ammonia – a substance that’s especially stressful on the liver. If not regulated, your liver will reach a point where it will solely focus on breaking down ammonia, rather than cleansing your body of other toxins.
Thankfully, there are many vegan alternatives to protein. Tofu, chickpeas, peanuts, potatoes, and other animal-free sources contain all the protein your body needs to survive.
Don’t get us wrong – there’s definitely more to longevity than just switching to a plant-based diet. However, veganism is more than a diet; it’s a lifestyle. Because vegans are so used to eating healthy, they’re naturally inclined towards maintaining other healthy lifestyle choices, like avoiding excessive alcohol or exercising regularly. And if you can do the same, you’ll have greater chances at living a longer and more energetic life.
Written exclusively for Veganpoweredathlete.com
by Jewel Friedman