There is a growing body of evidence to show that a vegetable-based diet is good for your health.
As well as avoiding the risk of illness from infected animal products and avoiding exposure to the antibiotics which are regularly used on most farm animals, there are positive benefits to following a vegan diet. Like any other diet, though, it has to be balanced.
Here are some of the benefits:
- There are now several studies showing that those following a vegetable diet have lower rates of cancer, obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
- Foods such as beans and lentils, nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables offer a wealth of nutrients, fibre and phytochemicals that have favourable health effects.
- Leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds are great sources of iron, calcium, zinc and essential fatty acids.
- Eating a range of different coloured fruit and vegetables provides antioxidant vitamins and other helpful compounds that can guard against cell damage.
- Vegan diets are usually higher in fibre, magnesium, folate, vitamins C and E, iron and phytochemicals, while tending to be lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Cutting out meat and dairy can markedly reduce your intake of fat, especially saturates. Even extra lean minced beef has over four times the fat of pulses.
- Soluble fibre can help keep cholesterol under control and a balanced vegetable diet has up to twice as much fibre as the national average.
- Soya foods and nuts have been shown to be especially helpful in keeping cholesterol down. The same foods, rich in plant proteins and slowly absorbed carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI), can be beneficial in avoiding and managing type 2 diabetes.
- Vegetable diets are naturally low in sugars and salt.