Going vegan comes with many health benefits. These benefits, especially weight loss, are achieved in the best and most efficient way if you also eliminate or limit fat, sugar, and processed carbohydrates. However, simply eliminating animal products will have a positive impact on your overall health.
Meat and dairy focused diets consist of high fat, high sugar, and more often than not, a lot of processed carbohydrates. Even when making what are thought to be more healthful choices, consuming “lean” meats and “light” dairy options is not idea. Eggs and egg whites are anything but a health food. Eggs contain fat and cholesterol in addition to animal protein and leaving out the yolk does not remedy the situation much. Egg whites are low in fat and contain no cholesterol but have low amounts of any other significant nutrients, and still have a great deal of animal protein. Dairy contains sugar, and meat and dairy contain dangerous saturated and trans fats.
Leaving meat, milk, cheese, and eggs off of your plate means leaving off unwanted saturated fat and cholesterol as well. Because plant-based diets are low in saturated fat and contain zero cholesterol, blood thickness is improved, which helps more oxygen reach the muscles. This improves performance. Vegan food also increases the diameter of arteries, which leads to better blood flow. For lifters, this means a better pump! Animal protein has been linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease – all of which can be reversed or prevented by going vegan.
Animal protein causes many issues in the body, such as inflammation. This can lead to autoimmune disorders. Going vegan can also mean less inflammation in your joints and muscles during and after exercise. Many vegans report needing less recovery time from workouts, as eating vegan food helps your body function at optimal levels, as plant foods are full of all of the necessary vitamins and minerals for a complete diet, as well as good carbohydrates, thus giving you greater and more sustained energy.
Vegan (plant-based) protein is the most easily digested protein, and it comes along with fiber and good carbohydrates, and most vegetable foods have little to no fat. Animal products have zero fiber, which helps your body process and eliminate your food, as well as helps you stay full, which is crucial for weight loss and maintenance. The fiber in plant foods helps to lower blood sugar by slowing the absorption of blood sugar, as well as lowering cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in your blood. This lowers the risk of heart disease.
Finally, plant protein is much easier for the body to process so the risk of kidney disease is nearly eliminated. Many people, athletes especially, consume large amounts of animal protein, and that the kidneys strain to digest. This leads to kidney disease. Athletes eating a higher protein diet benefit greatly when animal protein is swapped for more efficient, healthier plant-based protein.
Consuming a plant-based diet can help to prevent or reverse many chronic health conditions and diseases, as well as lessen inflammation in the body and give you more energy. Going vegan is a win/win for the animals and for your health and fitness journey.