Nutrition

Is A Vegan Diet Healthy? | The Truth

Is vegan diet beneficial or just a trend?

Recently, the vegan and plant-based diets have been increasing their awareness. Many people are trying to turn to plant-based nutrition and lifestyle overall, promoting the health improving benefits of these ways of eating and their impact on the well-being in general. If you’re a fitness enthusiast caring about your body, progress, and your general health than looking into what plant-based diet can do for you can be highly beneficial.

As always, one size fits all is hardly ever an optimal approach to anything fitness-related and by learning about a variety of benefits of plant-based diets you might smash those goals even more efficiently. Let’s dive into some plant-based info and why, or why not, it may be a good idea to give it a try. Or is it just a recent trend?

vegan diet

Summarized plant-based diets

For those of you familiar with the subject, this info might not be anything new, but a vegan diet is characterized by excluding all meat and animal products from the diet. Another plant-based alternative is a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet that focuses on eliminating meat products but allows the consumption of eggs and dairy. Such diets primarily focus on building a majority of nutrition intake around fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, and complex carbs.

In general, plant-based diets are high in carbohydrates, fiber, micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and very high in other health benefiting compounds called phytochemicals. These compounds provide a variety of benefits for an optimal functioning of the human body and affect a wide array of internal processes such as vitamin distribution, getting rid of free radicals, and just supporting your body as a whole.

Going vegan?

A vegan diet eliminates all animal products from the diet and includes only plant-based sources of nutrition. Some major benefits from this change will simply be a result of the increase in the number of nutrients your body will receive on a continuous basis. Since the foods derived from plants have an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, if the vegan diet revolves around plant-based products, the whole body will appreciate the change. As a result of that change, you may experience higher energy levels, weight loss, and just overall feeling better during your day.

Nevertheless, many processed foods are vegan so you need to make sure to focus on fresh produce and healthy food choices. Veggies and fruits can work miracles when you exclude processed foods and low nutrient density foods out of your diet and replace them with healthy items. In combination with sufficient hydration and a good sleeping schedule, the abundance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can change your physical wellness tremendously.

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Downfall of vegan diet

Obviously, nothing is perfect and even a healthy vegan diet has its disadvantages. One of the major issues is the lack of vitamin B 12 that is primarily found in animal products such as meat, dairy, or eggs. However, this obstacle can be simply surpassed by supplementing with a proper vitamin B 12 product. This vitamin is essential in supporting our nervous system, red blood cells creation, or carrying our various bodily functions and B12 deficiency can be dangerous to the human body as it can lead to many serious health issues. Patrick J. Skerrett from Harvard Health Publishing states, “Strict vegetarians and vegans are at high risk for developing a B12 deficiency if they don’t eat grains that have been fortified with the vitamin or take a vitamin supplement”. A vegan diet will be beneficial, as long as basic nutritional needs of the human body are satisfied.

Another negative factor about the vegan diet is that supplying yourself with fresh vegetables and fruits as well as high-protein plant-based sources can get a bit pricey. Fresh vegetables and fruits aren’t likely to last a whole month and re-stocking your fridge with fresh produce can get costly. Many great plant-based carbohydrate sources are also very dense in the protein content such as lentils, green split peas, beans, etc. However, if you’re looking strictly for high protein and high-fat type of diet, getting your hands on a lot of plant-based protein without excessive carbs can be harder to do. Some of the high protein sources include tempeh, tofu, edamame seeds and such. Although, if the price is not a factor you can go ahead and experiment with some plant-based protein sources. You might be surprised at how tasty and useful these foods are in cooking.

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Overall Decision

Waking up one day and deciding to go full vegan can be detrimental to your fitness progress. A vegan diet is definitely very beneficial to those who follow a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, and healthy fats. One of the best ways to experiment with vegan diet could be easing into eating more vegetables and fruits on daily basis and seeing the results it will have on your body. Loads of vitamins and minerals will only benefit you in the long run and getting used to including a lot of healthy foods in your meal plan will help your fitness goal.

 

Slowly increasing the amount of plant-based food sources in your diet can lead to a much smoother transition into a more plant-based dietary style. A vegan diet is definitely very beneficial to the human body and can improve your fitness journey at the very least. Try to mix in more fruits and veggies into your meal plan, lift some iron, and enjoy a bean burger every once in a while and try this plant-based way of living for yourself – you might be pleased with the outcomes.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye has an MSc in Sport Physiology and Nutrition, and puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding. She enjoys a pun, and in her spare time loves dog walking and eating out.


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