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As a kid, your parents and teachers likely told you the importance of eating tons of fruits and veggies. And as an adult, you’re likely far more aware of how important these foods are in order for your body to function.
As you grow older, it’s important that you fuel your body with the right nutrients for a variety of reasons. Chemical and changes in bone structure, for instance, can make it seem like your body is in a constant state of flux.
Think of your body like your vehicle. You need the right kind of fuel to maintain your car’s health and keep it moving. While it may seem overly simplified, your body works in much the same way.
While it’s tempting to snag that gas station burrito you’re craving, it won’t do you much good.
That’s why you need to fill your body with the right stuff. Changing to a vegan diet is a great way to offset health issues and even help the environment!
But if you know anything about the vegan lifestyle, you likely know the basic facts. While these are certainly true, here’s so much more to the lifestyle than a quick weight loss solution.
Read on to learn 7 of the biggest benefits of living a vegan lifestyle!
1. A Vegan Lifestyle Can Give You More Energy
Maybe you’re reading this article at your desk after lunch. Your eyes probably feel heavy, and there’s nowhere you’d rather be than at home, asleep in your own bed.
While some of this is due to caffeine consumption and the dreaded crash after, your diet also plays a large role. Remember the metaphor about your body being like your car?
Currently, you may be focusing on high-carb foods that don’t provide the energy your body needs.
By adding lots of foods like legumes, almonds, and bananas, your body will get the nutrients it needs.
The protein found in these tasty treats is enough to keep you full and energized for most of the day. A cup of almonds, for instance, contains 15 grams of protein.
On average, your body needs around 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams for men. Even adding almonds as just an afternoon snack is a simple way to boost your energy levels.
Depending on the veggies in your diet, you may also feel more hydrated as well. Since celery is mostly water, it should be a healthy part of any active person’s diet.
With more hydration and protein, your brain will function optimally, you’ll have more energy, and that dreaded 2 PM slump will be gone for good.
2. You’ll Sleep Better
Speaking of feeling sleepy, who couldn’t benefit from a more restful night’s sleep. Like food, not all sleep is equally good for your body.
Your standard individual needs anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. And that’s not just laying in bed with your eyes closed, it means quality sleep.
The more time your body is engaged in a restful sleeping state, the better it’ll function. Your brain needs this time to relax and your body needs the time to repair itself.
While the qualifications for restful sleep are ambiguous, most scientists agree that the body needs to engage in REM sleep.
If you weren’t already aware, your dietary choices affect your quality of sleep. A vegan lifestyle promotes great sleep via healthy food choices.
Eating a sweet potato, for instance, is a great choice for a bedtime snack. While it may seem a bit odd, sweet potatoes contain a high dosage of healthy carbs and potassium.
Both nutrients will make you feel relaxed and make it easier to fall – and stay – asleep.
3. Your Body Will Receive and Retain More of the Nutrients it Needs
So far there’s been a lot of discussion about nutrients and why your body needs them. And while the information has likely been hammered into your mind for years, you may not have all the info.
Your body needs a few key nutrients to function at an optimal level. If you’ve ever had a sudden craving for chocolate or fries, you know the body has a funny way of telling you what it needs.
Start thinking of cravings as your body telling you the nutrients it needs, not what sounds tasty.
A craving for salt can indicate dehydration, for example. On a similar note, cravings for sweets suggest that your body needs more magnesium is needed.
Anything and everything that your body craves can be fulfilled with a vegan lifestyle. While that bowl of fruit may not taste as great as a bowl of ice cream, skip the unnatural sugars.
Furthermore, a vegan lifestyle will help your body absorb these nutrients more easily. Once your body gets accustomed to a healthier diet, vitamin absorption occurs faster.
4. You Can Still Get Many of the Benefits of a Meat-Based Diet
If that header confused you, don’t worry, we’ll get into the details in a moment.
Before we do, let’s address one of the biggest arguments against a vegan lifestyle.
If you’ve had discussions about your diet, you may have heard some variation of the following:
You: “I’ve switched to a vegan diet and I feel better than ever! I can feel good about what I’m eating, and my body is getting the nutrients it deserves.”
Your friend: “Sure, but you need some types of meat and dairy to survive, don’t you? You can’t be getting everything you need from a vegan lifestyle.”
Believe it or not, your friend actually brings up a good point. There’s plenty of research to indicate that including dairy and eggs in your diet is better for you.
But your friend is mistaken is that the vegan lifestyle doesn’t account for nutrition. There are tons of supplements out there to help pick up the slack. From B12 to omega oils, there’s undoubtedly something for you.
Even something as simple and common as almond milk can provide similar benefits to milk. While it can’t provide a 1:1 ratio of calcium, you’re still getting enough to promote strong, healthy bones.
If you’re concerned your diet isn’t accounting for everything, consult a nutritionist. He or she should be able to point you in the direction of helpful supplements.
5. A Vegan Lifestyle Helps Small Businesses Flourish
Admittedly, this benefit is less about the environment and more about being a good person. You know that your vegan lifestyle is great for your health and the globe.
But did you know you’re helping businesses, too?
Get your fruits and veggies from small, local vendors to help businesses grow. So skip the local supermarket and do something more helpful. Get online and find out when and where the nearest farmer’s market is.
One of the most fun aspects of the vegan lifestyle is spending a relaxing day at the farmer’s market. Browsing the aisles, talking to vendors, and enjoying food you can feel good about. What more could you ask for?
Now, you can prepare your meals knowing that you’ve helped your local farmers and economy.
It’s feel-good food in two senses of the word!
6. A Vegan Lifestyle Can Help Offset Several Types of Cancer
One of the most harmful things about a meat-based diet is just how bad it is for you. These days, almost everything you find throughout your local supermarket is heavily processed.
While most companies will tell you that this is to add or preserve flavor, these meats contain harmful chemicals that are linked to cancer. So much so that the World Health Organization has listed red meat as a possible carcinogen.
Let’s break down some of the things you’ll find in your average hot dog. You may believe that you’re getting beef, but you’re getting more filler than anything.
Most hot dogs contain sodium nitrate, which is said to preserve flavor. Sodium nitrate is a particularly damning inclusion, as it’s harmful to the body when heated up.
You’ll also find other fun inclusions such as corn syrup, dried milk, and MSG. If that wasn’t enough to make you consider a vegan lifestyle, there’s more.
The USDA doesn’t require companies to disclose exactly what counts as “flavorings”. Aside from MSG, you’re getting a healthy dose of carmine, a dye extracted from beetle shells.
Many of these ingredients have a correlation with colorectal cancer.
7. A Better Diet Reduces Inflammation
This is particularly great news for those suffering from arthritis! Vegetables can reduce the amount of inflammation throughout your body.
If you struggle with osteoarthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, here are some of the foods you’ll want to include in your diet:
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.)
- Olive oil (in small doses)
In contrast, red meats, sugary drinks, and fried foods actually promote inflammation.
The vegan lifestyle is one that promotes health and well-being, starting with what you eat. If you experience frequent inflammation and joint pain, change your diet accordingly.
These are just a few of the dozens of reasons to live a vegan lifestyle. But we want to hear from you! Drop a comment below or get in touch and let us know what you think.
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