57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Yes, you read that correctly. According to Alisa Miller over at NursingDegree.com, there are 57 health benefits associated with eating vegan. Actually, she's listed 47 health benefits and 10 other items of potential interest to the vegan eater. None of this information is new, but it certainly bears repeating. Below are my

favorites:

3. Fiber. A diet high in fiber (as vegan eating usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.

10. Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.

11. Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most Americans eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.

12. Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke.

15. Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also "easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association."

24. Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues.

27. Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.

34. Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems.

35. Animal proteins. The average American eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. Getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis.

38. Mercury. Most of the fish and shellfish consumed has mercury in it. While some fish have less than others, it is almost impossible not to be putting mercury in your body when you eat fish.

40. Animals. Many people begin a vegan diet out of concern for animals. Whether opposed to the conditions of animals intended for food or eating animals in general, going vegan will help your conscience rest easily.

41. Environment. Growing plants takes much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment.

45. Global food supply. Feeding grain to animals meant as food sources reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Many people will go hungry while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Eating vegan ensures that you have removed yourself from the participation of this imbalance. (VeganBits note: Sparrow comments on our post Arguing for Vegetarianism, "that I learned in earned in my International Politics class a couple of years back is that world hunger is largely a problem of distribution.")

46. Hormone consumption. Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.

47. Antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.

If you're interested in the rest of the list visit NursingDegree.com

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Comments

  1. This is a great list, and from what I’ve read over the years, most of the items ring true. But the idea that most of us (vegan or not) get too much protein isn’t really backed up by evidence. Especially active people (which we all should be!) should be getting a good deal of protein – some say 1g per lb bodyweight, but at least half that. Which is more than the “We get too much protein!” people usually say. It’s still definitely possible to do this as a vegan, but we shouldn’t say “Oh, I don’t need too much” and then forget to pay attention and live on quinoa and greens. And danishes.

  2. Great list and it is true that many Americans get to much protein. That is evidenced by their SAD diet in which meat is a main meal.

    Thanks for sharing Lane!

  3. I really think that’s a misconception. Look at the grocery store – there’s one aisle with fruit and vegetables and meat, and then the rest is processed carbohydrates. I’m not saying eating meat is good, but overprotein isn’t the scourge of the American waistline.

  4. Awesome! Thanks for the article link! I’ll have to send this to my sister who is in nursing school right now.
    Responding to comment above:
    As for protein, I think the latest figure is 0.9 g protein/KILOGRAM of body weight.
    So for a 150 pound person, that would be a need of about 61 grams, which is really pretty easy to get. But I would imagine athletes and growing children would need a bit more.
    My personal opinion on the protein thing is that with the SAD, most Americans (not vegans) do get too much. If you think back to when humans were hunting for their food and ate a much more natural diet, I highly doubt they were eating meat at every meal, and even if they were, it would have been very small servings in order to conserve resources.
    I do definitely agree that we should make sure to eat something richer in protein everyday, but then again, we’re all different and have different metabolic makeups – some people do better with a higher dose of protein; some do better with a higher dose of carbohydrates (these carb people REALLY do well with a vegan diet). It really all comes down to listening to your body after every meal and seeing if it’s satisfied with what you ate and isn’t craving some other macronutrient.

  5. 57 is impressive! Although #11 and #35 seem to overlap quite a bit.

    The main health problem I hear about with too much protein is increased risk for osteoporosis.

    As the China Study and other studies show quite clearly, the biggest problem (IMHO) with getting too much protein from animal sources is increased risk for cancer.

    Here is a pretty good source of info on protein and vegan diets: http://www.veganhealth.org

  6. Hi Jaime, LaTara, & Lindsey,
    There is a lot of conflicting information regarding protein out there and neither Jane nor I have a medical degree. So we encourage people to see a physician or nutritionist to get information specific to their individual physiques. Having said that… Jane and I don’t obsess about protein, but we do make sure we’ve eaten some for at least two of our three meals. Since the information available is often conflicting , and protein is such an important nutrient, it’s worthy of some consideration. It’s a fact that the typical American is consuming significantly more protein than necessary. As vegans, we represent less than 3% of the population, therefore we’re not “typical.” It’s certainly possible to eat a less-than-healthy vegan diet, where a dearth of protein would be likely.

    Hi Gary,
    Actually, many of the numbers on her list overlap. But it was still worthy of a read.
    I read a bit of the China Study and was shocked to learn of the link between animal protein and cancer (and dairy and osteoporosis!).
    We love veganhealth.org — and have a link to their site on our resources page. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Ha, I just blogged about this as well. I only found your article on Digg after I published.

    I really enjoyed it. It’s wonderful to see an article on veganism on a nursing website.

  8. Hi Billy,
    That happens.
    Yes, it’s always good to have vegan-focused articles on more mainstream sites.

  9. I have never once heard of anyone having a protein deficiency because they didn’t eat meat or animal protein. All of the protein that a human needs can be found in plant based proteins. My boss, who is a physician, gave me an excellent book to read….there are some really good points made in the book titled Skinny Bitch (sorry that’s the name).

    I have adopted all of the habits encouraged by the authors, by giving up foods that are no-no’s and paying attention to labels and what is in the foods that I eat. I have lost weight and I feel fantastic!

  10. Hi Sam,
    The protein thing seems to always come up when you tell someone you’re vegan/vegetarian.
    If you’re looking for some additional reading, I’d suggest “The China Study” by Campbell. He talks about the many health issues solved by a vegan diet.

  11. Awsome! Thanks for sharing.

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