Should We All Be Vegan?
Photo by Pixabay (Flickr)
by Moyosola Tijani
Veganism is the practice of refraining from the consumption of meat and the use of animal products in general. A vegan is a person who follows this practice. It is impossible to put all vegans in one category as there are different groups of people who practice their veganism in distinct ways. The dietary vegans are people who abstain from consuming all forms of animal products. Ethical vegans not only adhere to a strict vegan diet, but they also oppose the use of animals in other areas. Ethical vegans are known to avoid the use of cosmetics which are produced by companies that support animal testing. Environmental vegans oppose the consumption of animals on the basis of conservation. Feminist veganism draws parallels between slavery and violence against women and the violence against animals. For this reason, most feminist activists abstain from the consumption of animal products. The last category of vegans is basically an informal class; they are called the ‘seasonal vegans’. This group of people abstain from the use of animal products for a specific period for health reasons. Seasonal vegans often describe this period of abstinence as a ‘cleansing period’.
So, you’re probably wondering why you should go vegan. Perhaps the most prominent reason for going vegan is the numerous health benefits associated with this lifestyle. Veganism provides a healthy way to lose weight and people on a vegan diet generally have a low and healthy body mass index (BMI). This is mainly because a vegan diet generally contains only a few, essential calories.
A vegan diet contains no animal fats. Animal fats have been linked to many diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. They are known to increase cholesterol levels in the blood. Removing animal fat from your diet greatly reduces the risk of these diseases. A vegan diet provides the perfect opportunity to get necessary fatty acids from plant-based oils like olive oil without the risk of increasing the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is commonly known as the ‘bad cholesterol’. This diet is generally good for heart health. It also reduces the risk of obesity.
Studies have shown that a vegan diet reduces the risk of certain kinds of cancers. This is because the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants protects the body from the damage done by free radicals. Regular meat consumption, on the other hand, increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
Lastly, a vegan diet promotes skin health. This is because it is basically a low-inflammatory diet. Studies have also shown that people on a strict vegan diet have little to no breakouts and people with other inflammatory diseases have reported a reduction in flare-ups. This benefit may be attributed to the cocktail of vitamins present in the vegan diet. The antioxidant effects of these vitamins protect the skin, giving it a constant, glowing look.
While the vegan diet provides many health benefits, it is important to note that you may need to supplement some nutrients such as iron, vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and calcium. If you’re teetering on the edge of going vegan, I really hope this article has convinced you to go for it because it’s an amazing way to stay healthy.