Potential benefits of a vegan diet

Metro Service
Regardless of why people choose vegan diets, the potential health benefits of such decisions are myriad.

■ Metro Service / Contributed

A nutritious diet is an integral component of a healthy lifestyle. One of the great things about eating right is there are many ways to do so. A healthy diet that works for some people might not work for others with different tastes, and it doesn’t have to.
Eating right can boost immune systems and help people be more productive, and some people even tailor their healthy diets to align with their personal beliefs. One such example is veganism. Adherents to veganism do not eat or use animal products, and many do so to advocate for the ethical treatment of animals.
Regardless of why people choose vegan diets, the potential health benefits of such decisions are myriad.

Shed excess weight: Vegan diets may help people shed excess weight. A 2015 study published in the journal Nutrition found that vegan diets may result in greater weight loss than more modest recommendations. The vegan diets used in the study did not require participants to limit their caloric intake, though many might have simply by the nature of the vegan diet, which is packed with satisfying foods full of nutrients such as fiber that can help people feel full and maintain that feeling of fullness for long periods of time.

Improve kidney function: Studies have indicated that people with diabetes who replace the meat in their diets with plant protein may reduce their risk for poor kidney function. One such study, published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded that, while more studies are necessary, substituting soy protein for animal proteins usually decreases hyperfiltration in diabetic subjects and may reduce albumin excretion as well.

Protect against certain cancers: The World Health Organization says that roughly one-third of all instances of cancer across the globe can be prevented if people make the right lifestyle choices. That includes their choice in diets. Due to the nature of vegan diets, vegans tend to consume considerable amounts of fruits and vegetables. That’s good news, as an analysis of data from the Health Survey for England found that eating seven or more portions of fresh fruits and vegetables every day can reduce a person’s risk of dying from cancer by as much as 15 percent.

Reduce risk for heart disease: Fruits, vegetables and fiber also have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. A study from researchers in Japan found that intakes of plant-based foods, particularly fruits, were associated with reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease.

Vegan diets may necessitate an adjustment period when starting out. But over time, the benefits of such diets are numerous.

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