Albert Einstein has rightly said, ‘Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.’ Vegan diet does not include eggs, meat, dairy products and other animal derived ingredients. Some of the vegans do not eat foods that are processed with animal products like wines and refined white sugar. They even avoid using food items that are tested on animals and animal derived non-food items like wool and fur. Vegans follow a vegetarian diet that includes beans, grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Most of the eateries even have vegan versions of the popular food items enabling them to enjoy them.
In the past, a vegetarian diet was considered to be strange and faddish. But when it was consumed with proper planning it was highly nutritional, provided a lot of health benefits and even prevented from many chronic diseases when compared to the normal foods that included non-vegetarian items. A number of scientific sources proved that consuming vegetarian diet was more beneficial. Given below are some of the most important health benefits of vegetarian diets.
1. Rich source of protein
A vegetarian diet is very special and different from the omnivorous diet because of its dry beans and lentils. They are the major sources of protein. There are different kinds of beans to choose from such as the black-eyed peas, soy beans, garbanzo, Great Northern, navy, cranberry, pinto, lima and kidney beans that can be served in multiple ways as stews, soups, salads, casseroles and with rice. Soy bean curd or tofu is used a spreads and dips and can be sued with fried vegetables and pasta. Using these vegetables means lower risk of stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.
2. Cancer protection
According to a research published by the World Cancer Research Fund, we can lower the risk of cancer greatly by choosing plant-based diets and limiting the use of meat and fish. The methods used for making the meat and fish products produce heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are carcinogenic. Many plant foods have been identified to have cancer protection properties. Most of the cruciferous vegetables, umbellifeorus herbs and vegetables and various other fruits and vegetables are beneficial. They contain a lot of cancer-protective phytochemicals that alter the hormonal actions and metabolic pathways associated with development of cancer. They have antioxidant activity and also stimulate the immune system.
3. Heart disease
Consuming fruits and vegetables regularly can prevent the risk of ischemic heart disease. Various studies have been conducted in this regard which showed that people consuming fresh fruits and vegetables daily had lower risks to various heart diseases. The fruits and vegetables contain certain factors like flavonoids, phytosterols, carotenoids, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid and other polyphenolic antioxidants that prevent cardiovascular disease. Most of the fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids that have extensive properties for reducing the risk of heart disease. They are very powerful antioxidants and help to prevent he oxidation of LDL cholesterol, stop blood clots and have anti-inflammatory action. Frequent consumption of nuts can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Some of the important nut varieties include walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans and almonds. They also contain a lot of minerals and vitamins for cardiovascular health.
4. Cholesterol levels
Anthocyanin pigments are red pigments found in various fruits such as cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, grapes, blueberries and black currents. The pigments are very effective in preventing LDL cholesterol oxidation, scavenging free radicals and stopping platelet aggregation. Terpenoids and tocotrienold found in fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts control the cholesterol levels. Garlic and onions are known to lower the triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Similarly, legumes also control the blood cholesterol levels, lower the triglyceride levels and improve the blood sugar levels. Consumption of whole grains reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
5. Stroke and Diabetes
Consumption of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Citrus fruits, cruciferous and green leafy vegetables are the most important protectors. A study conducted by NHANES showed that people who consumed fresh fruits and vegetables three times daily had 27% lower risk of stroke, 27% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, 42% lower risk of stroke mortality and 15% lower risk of all-cause mortality when compared to people who consumed fruits and vegetables less than one time a day. Increased consumption of nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables contribute to protection from diabetes.
Try to include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. They can be used instead of the junk foods as healthy snacks. A generous consumption of nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables can help you to prevent a lot of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes. Plant-based foods are rich in various health-promoting factors.