The Vegan Society defines veganism as “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."
So this means eliminating animal-based products as far as possible and embracing plant-based alternatives and products as far as possible.
Philosophy is all well and good, but is it really good for us and our health?
A Vegan diet is sincerely and scientifically proven to be healthy, in more than one way! Some of the direct benefits one can expect from switching to a vegan plant-based diet are:-
- Make the most of primary sources of all nutrients, i.e. plants! They are most easily assimilated by our bodies and evol
- Control obesity and lose weight - which also lowers the risk of many, many other illnesses
- Reversal of Type-2 Diabetes and improved kidney functioning - basically healing up!
- Protection against certain cancers - many of the cancers are actually caused by animal-products like meat and dairy.
- Reduced risk of developing heart disease!
- Freedom from the problems associated with Arthritis
- Good guilt-free sleep! Knowing that you didn’t harm animals directly to put food on your plate.
Research has concluded that not only is a vegan diet beneficial for the body, it is truly a boon for the brain! Here is a quote from one research paper, “Considering neurological or psychiatric diseases and brain functions, the systematic review yielded in six clinical trials of diverse clinical groups, i.e. migraine, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Here, mild to moderate improvement, e.g. measured by antibody levels, symptom improvement or pain frequency, was reported in five out of six studies.” She mentions that researchers have found that the body’s inflammation was much less among those who had plant-based meals. Excerpts from “That a vegan diet helps in reducing, and even removing diabetes and heart disease” - written by Smt. Maneka Gandhi, a member of the Lok Sabha and a devout animal rights activist. Available to read on People for Animals, NGO’s Website.
To conclude a Vegan diet also addresses the big issue of High Blood Pressure (BP) and the condition called Hypertension. This disease is a risk-factor even for mortality among COVID-19 patients. It is extremely important to keep High BP in check - and you guessed it - vegan diets lowers your BP and can even put you off your anti-hypertensive medications.
Author - Shrikanth Iyer, a Lecturer at the Department of Multimedia and Mass Communication, Guru Nanak College, Mumbai. He is a budding clinical psychologist, a vegan, animal lover, who has a liking for research and non-fiction writing.