Why Everyone Should Go Vegan

Vegan meal
A vegan lifestyle or veganism is a way of life that prohibits all forms of animal abuse and cruelty to provide food, clothing or for any other purpose. A vegan is a strict vegetarian who lives on a diet purely of plant-based foods; grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits. A vegan doesn't eat eggs, dairy products or any kind of meat or by-product of slaughter.

People choose to become vegan for many reasons including health, religion, and concern about animal welfare. Vegans strongly believe that all animals; big or small, have the right to life and freedom and oppose taking of life to provide food and clothing since there are other alternatives. Vegans also choose to avoid meats and other animal products due to the negative environmental impact associated with animal agriculture.

In the past years, veganism has slowly gained traction mainly due to associated health reasons. Studies on nutrition and health promotion emphasize plant-based foods for their vitamin, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, crucial for normal body functions and strengthening the body's ability to fight diseases. The antioxidants work as a defense system against free radicals which can destroy healthy cells raising the risk of chronic illnesses like cancer. Plant-based foods are also the only source of phytonutrients which are compounds that help prevent many diseases in the human body.

High intake of animal-based foods especially red and processed meats has been proven to increase the risk of conditions like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and other chronic diseases. According to a study published by Harvard School of Public Health in 2012 on the association between meat consumption and mortality, people who frequently ate large servings of red meat, tended to die younger, mainly from heart diseases and cancer. In 2015, the Cancer Agency for the World Health Organization released a study that linked high consumption of red and processed meats to increased cancer risk.

The health of a vegan diet is determined by the food choices one makes. An average vegan diet is rich in vitamin C and fiber and low in saturated fats. However, vegan diets are vulnerable to being nutritionally inadequate in terms of micronutrients. Vegan diets are naturally low in vitamins B12, and D, calcium, zinc, iron and omega-3-fatty acids.

It is, therefore, crucial for a person going vegan to know the nutrients that may be missing in their diet and increase the consumption of specific foods that are rich in the missing nutrients. In most cases, vegans use supplements to meet the need of such nutrients.

Vegan diets must be appropriately planned and one should adhere to recommended guidelines on nutrition, fat consumption and weight control otherwise a vegan diet may end up being detrimental to one's health.
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