A vegan or plant-based diet excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. When people follow it correctly, a vegan diet can be highly nutritious, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and aid weight loss. For some of us in Ethiopia, it is currently fasting time which means going vegan for a few days. While it seems that the trend of eating meat has been going up, especially in Addis Ababa with butcheries at every corner, and while meat is definitely delicious, here are some compelling reasons to cut back on animal products and munch on more plants
Lower your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes
Both of these conditions are amongst the most common chronic diseases in the world, and they are totally man-made! Nobody in this day and age would need to suffer from either of them.
Treat or reverse other current health conditions
More and more major health ordganizations are now stating that it’s healthy to eat a well-planned vegan diet during all stages of life – and that it’s even favourable to do so because vegans have lower rates of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes and even Alzheimer’s. The WHO stated that processed meat is a carcinogen and that red meat probably is as well — most data seems to point in one direction.
Help your skin become more radiant
Although initially this may not seem like an obvious benefit of eating vegetables, studies suggest that for those looking to gain a greater glow, there can be no longer lasting remedy than that of the vegetable.
The study found that when consuming vegetables high in carotenoids – Vitamin A and beta carolene, (both powerful antioxidants), such as carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers, the participant had a healthier skin colour than could be obtained by simply sun tanning.
Carotenoids are compounds which give vegetables their bright colour. Other vegetables with high concentrations of carotenoids include:
Help with weight loss
Most vegetables contain near to no levels of fat, saturated fat or sugar. However, it is not the simply the low-fat content which can aid weight loss, but also the percentage of fibre and energy density (ED) found in some vegetables. ED can be seen simply as the amount of calories in food; the greater the energy density, the higher the calories. Fibre has been commonly thought to leave you feeling fuller for longer when eaten.
Make you happy
It may sound a little strange to hear that eating vegetables regularly can give you an increased sense of happiness, however there is scientific evidence behind the claim.
In a recent study by TS Conner et al (2015), 405 people were asked to eat vegetables, fruit, sweets and chips, and asked to fill an internet diary with feelings on how happy they were, and how strong their sense of well-being was. The conclusion found that those who ate fruit and vegetables achieved a greater sense of happiness versus those who ate sweets and chips.
One possible reason for this is due to the lack of fat in vegetables, showcased in a study by Brunner et al (2009), which suggests that those who eat food with a higher fat content are more likely to become depressed.
This is further reinforced in an Australian study by Mujcic et al (2014), in which 13969 individuals were asked how happy they were after eating vegetables. The researchers concluded that vegetables have an important role to play in not only the physical, but mental health of people in society.