Veganism: What is it, Types, Risk Factors, What to Eat
Know the basics of veganism—types of food and benefits.
Veganism has gained popularity in the past few years, especially with celebrities following and touting the benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle.
If you're feeling lost amid all the buzzwords and trends, we've got your back. what is veganism? How is it beneficial for your health?
According to the American Dietitic Association, vegan diet is a healthy and a person can follow veganism for his entire life, in all his phases of life.
It is believed that the word 'vegan' was coined in 1944 when a group of vegetarians left the Leicester Society of Vegetarians in England to form a vegan society.
Veganism essentially involves the use of any foods, clothing or products that is derived from animals.
Types of Veganism
There are few people who eat only plant based diet but use animal products like cosmetics and clothes. Such people are known as dietary vegans.
Whole-food vegans are another group of vegans who eat only fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
There are junk food lovers who eat non-dairy ice creams, oreo cookies, vegan meats, frozen vegan meat and so much more.
Vegan Diet: Benefits
According to the US NIH, vegans are comparatively healthier, and have a lower BMI (body mass index) as compared to non-vegans, making a great option for those on calorie-restricted diet.
Vegan diet is also known to help maintain blood sugar levels. The vegans are at a 78% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes than the non-vegans.
According to the US NIH, vegans have healthier hearts, ower levels of cholesterol. Moreover, veganism reduces the risk of heart diseases by 42 percent and the risk of high cholesterol by 75 percent.
Veganism reduces the risk of cancer or chances of death from cancer by 15 percentant.
It is also known to reduces symptoms of arthritis like swelling, inflammation, stiffness and joint pain.
It has also proved to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Vegan Diet: Foods You Can Eat
There are a variety of options that you can choose from if you decide to go vegan that are nutritious enough to keep you healthy.
Whole grains and cereals like quinoa and amaranth are rich in fibers, minerals, complex carbs, iron, vitamin-Bs and full of proteins.
legumes are a great source of protein that people typically get from meat, eggs, fish and animal foods.
But, a cup of cooked beans, lentils and peas contain 10-20 grams of proteins.
Nuts and seeds are also great option for vegans because one-ounce of seeds and nuts contain 5-12 grams of proteins. They are also rich in fiber, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and other pant nutrients.
Tofu which is made out of soy is a great replacement of meat, rich in iron, calcium and proteins. You can saute, grill or scramble tofu to eat it in different ways and enjoy its health benefits.
Vegan Diet: Risk Factors
According to the US NIH, vegan diets are healthier than any other diet, but a poorly planned vegan diet can lead to deficiency and related issues.
Inefficient planning with the vegan diet may lead to deficiencies of essential nutrients in blood like omega-3s fatty acids, iron, calcium, vitamin- B12 and vitamin D.
A poorly planned vegan diet can also put pregnant, breastfeeding women and children at higher risk of health issues.
That is why it is important that you eat fermented, well-cooked and sprouted foods instead of processed or junk vegan foods that lack the essential nutrients.
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