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Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet
How going vegan can help you become healthier in the long run

If you have a vegan friend or two, chances are that they’ve championed the benefits of their lifestyle at some point or another. One of the common stigmas around vegans is that they can’t help but talk about being vegan and why it’s so great. Looking over some of the possible health advantages of undertaking a vegan diet, it’s clear why vegans advocate so strongly for their diet.

Weight loss

Looking into new eating habits is often the result of wanting to lose weight, and veganism is widely considered a great choice for that very goal. Writing for Healthline, registered dietitian Alina Petre cites no fewer than a dozen studies that have shown the positive weight-loss effects of a vegan diet, including nine randomized controlled studies that show vegan diets as being more effective for weight loss than other alternatives.

As with any kind of diet, the biggest key to losing weight as a vegan is understanding portions and nutritional balance. According to the Mayo Clinic, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides a recommended minimum daily and weekly intake of all food types to ensure that you are getting proper nutrition. Because you would be omitting your recommended three daily cups of dairy product as recommended by the DGA, you would not just want to supplement your diet with a non-dairy equivalent like soy or almond milk but also make up for any shortfall in terms of calcium, vitamin D, protein and other essential nutrients provided by dairy products.

Protection against illness

Going vegan may significantly lower your risk of developing everything from type 2 diabetes and kidney issues to heart disease and cancer. According to studies cited by Petre, vegans have been shown to have between a 50-78 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as lower blood sugar and higher insulin sensitivity. One study even showed that a vegan diet is more effective for decreasing the need for medication that lowers blood sugar than a diet plan recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

Several studies show that substituting meat-based proteins for plant-based proteins cuts down on your risk for poor kidney function. Contrary to the belief that vegan diets are lacking in viable sources of protein, Petre lists several options for your daily intake including nuts, legumes, leafy greens, oats, wild rice and Ezekiel bread. Cynthia Sass, a registered dietitian writing for Health, recommends an average 60 grams of daily protein intake, though your needs may vary.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, studies also suggest that veganism offers positive benefits in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. With respect to the former, a high-fiber diet consisting of the whole grains and legumes you would rely on for protein and balanced blood sugar offers proven health benefits, as do omega-3 fatty acid-rich nuts. Because vegan diets better ensure that you get your recommended daily portions of fruits and vegetables, it also decreases your risk of developing cancer.

If you’re considering going vegan, don’t just talk to your friends who have already taken the plunge. Speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian to fully grasp the pros and cons of making such a significant lifestyle choice.

This article is presented by Rick Hendrick BMW Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

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