by Amanda Quinn
I follow a vegan diet, eating lots of plant foods and avoiding animal foods, because of the way it makes me feel now and as a preventative health strategy as I get older. I have more energy and vitality, I sleep better, think better, it has improved my skin and, being an antioxidant rich diet, it helps to reduce adverse health changes associated with ageing.
Vegan diets based on whole plant foods (not refined foods):
provide an abundance of antioxidants and phytochemicals to neutralise oxidative stress that results in blemished and ageing skin, brain dysfunction and low energy;
provide more fibre than meat based diets, to help prevent constipation and toxification from a congested bowel. With healthy daily bowel movements, we suffer less from body aches, fatigue, foggy thinking and blemished skin;
are rich in potassium and magnesium, alkalising minerals that balance acidity in our bodies and support healthy blood sugar levels. This reduces risks of all those diseases associated with excess blood sugars, including diabetes, dementia and cardiovascular disease;
are rich in vitamins A and C, which improve immune function and are essential nutrients for eye health;
provide less saturated fats and zero cholesterol, shown to be helpful for many people with liver disease and cardiovascular disease like atherosclerosis;
can reduce pain from different types of arthritis. For example, Clinton et al (2015) reported that participants with osteoarthritis, who ate a whole food plant based vegan diet for 6 weeks, had significantly greater improvement in physical functioning, increased energy and vitality than those on an omnivorous diet*.
However, not all vegan diets are created equal. Poorly planned vegan diets may provide insufficient amounts of essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, iodine and zinc and are deficient in vitamin B12. Meat and animal products need to be replaced with high quality plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds; and some form of added B12 in fortified foods like nutritional yeast or regular B12 supplementation.
The greater variety of these whole plant foods the better your intake of nutrients that your body thrives on, and you will more likely discover many foods you never knew could taste so good!
Contact me if you have a question about vegan diets and would like to know more about how I can assist you in planning a vegan diet that will work for your tastes and lifestyle.