There are countless lifestyle fads and diets vying for our attention at any given point. Every other day, it seems, there are new reasons to eat meat and new reasons to not eat meat. Reasons to run instead of walk and walk instead of run. One minute, carbohydrates are bad for you and the next they’re vital. When it comes to our health, there’s always new ideas, innovations and opinions. But what if one of the healthiest lifestyles isn’t new at all, but instead, is one of the oldest?
A plant-based lifestyle, better known as a vegan lifestyle, was first recorded between 550 and 1200 BC. Pythagoras, in 500 BC, advocated a life devoid of animal products, and in 1944 the term vegan was coined.
So, is this ancient lifestyle choice obsolete, or avant-garde? Redundant or pioneering? Below you’ll find five health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, to help you decide for yourself.
1. Weight loss
A vegan diet is devoid of animal products, such as meat, milk and eggs. Countless scientific studies have proven that a vegan lifestyle is more successful at shedding the extra weight than other diets. Plant-based foods are often lower in fat and higher in fibre, and may even help your body speed up its metabolism.
2. Hormonal balances
Vegans tend to have much lower oestrogen levels than non-vegans because fatty foods and animal fats can increase oestrogen levels. High oestrogen levels can be to blame for diseases such as breast cancer. Research has found that going vegan can help to reduce a person’s overall risk of cancer, including prostate and colon cancers.
3. Reduction of risk
Eating a plant-based diet can reduce a person’s risk of mortality from diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and Ischemic heart disease, as well as hypertension, Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke and obesity. Typically higher in nutrients and micronutrients, studies have shown that vegans often live longer than non-vegans.
4. Increased energy and better moods
Eating foods rich in nutrients, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals can give your body a much-needed boost, while animals fats and processed sugars can make you feel sluggish. A more stable and consistent influx of nutrients into your system can help to keep your mood and emotions balanced and can avoid blood sugar spikes.
5. Anti-ageing and body odour reduction
Studies have shown that a plant-based diet isn’t just good for your insides – it can also slow down the ageing process, reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts and seriously reduce your body odour.
BONUS 6. Help the Planet
A significant benefit from a plant-based diet worth mentioning is the affect vegans have on the planet. Studies have shown that 51% of all greenhouse gasses are produced by cattle farming, and 60% of the world’s usable farmland is being destroyed for, and by, livestock. Our water supplies are also adversely affected by the raising of livestock. While it takes only 33 gallons of water to produce a pound of carrots, it takes 2500 gallons for a single pound of beef.
Cows have been scientifically proven to have high intelligence, interacting in complex social ways, developing friendships and even holding grudges. They’re known to mourn the loss of a loved one, feel fear and pain, and even physically shed tears as humans do.
These animals are aware they’re being led to the slaughter and exhibit fear and call for help, but going vegan doesn’t just help animals. Slaughterhouse workers are more likely to suffer mental health issues, use narcotics and drink excessively. A reduction in animal products sees a reduction in human suffering, too.
While there are countless different diets, meal plans and regimes, this ancient lifestyle choice might just have its purpose in modern day society, too.