• Nadia Santana

Three Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet


Photograph by Oleksandra Anschiz ©123rf.com

In today’s society, there are a thousand and one fad diets out there on the market. From low carb to Atkins to Paleo, and everything in between, there are too many to keep track of! Many people begin a diet to lose weight, and will typically bounce from one diet to the next, trying to find one that works for them. Unfortunately, most of the time the weight loss that they may have achieved is gained back once the diet stops-and they may even gain back more weight than they originally lost.


There is one dietary regimen, however, that soars above the rest. It is not just the best way of eating for your health, but also has massive benefits for animals and the planet. This diet is referred to as a plant-based diet or veganism. However, plant-based and veganism are not necessarily the same thing as a vegan diet does not include any animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs. Therefore, this article will focus solely on the benefits of a vegan diet, one free of all animal products.


Below is a list of three chronic health conditions which will most likely improve once you adopt a vegan diet. Your health will not only improve, but you will probably lose weight as well. Although these diseases can also be attributed to genetics, the majority of the time a person has a chronic health condition due to their diet and lifestyle choices.


  1. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Diabetes has been on the rise in the United States. It is estimated that over 29 million people have the disease, with millions more not even aware that they are diabetic. Diabetes can lead to serious complications including kidney failure, blindness, amputation, and even death. There have been many studies which show that plant-based eating can prevent and reverse type 2 DM. A 2017 article from the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology concluded their study by saying “There is a general consensus that the elements of a whole-foods plant-based diet—legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, with limited or no intake of refined foods and animal products—are highly beneficial for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.”(1)

  2. Hyperlipidemia. More commonly referred to as high cholesterol, hyperlipidemia is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Many people take what is commonly called a “statin” or a lipid-lowering agent. However, oftentimes, their diet is neglected and they think that a pill alone is sufficient enough. A 2009 published in The American Journal of Cardiology concluded that “Our review demonstrates that individuals following plant-based diets experience significantly lower blood lipid concentrations compared to those following diets that include animal products.”(2)

  3. Hypertension. Many adults suffer from hypertension, more commonly referred to as high blood pressure.They often have to take one or more medications to help control their blood pressure. It is estimated that globally, one billion people suffer from the disease. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and death. Many people are unaware their blood pressure is high until they go for a routine checkup. Diet and lifestyle interventions to help treat high blood pressure include smoking cessation, exercise, weight loss, and a decrease in salty foods. However, an article published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology suggest that a “plant-based diet is the more important intervention.”(3)  Although many studies are done on vegetarians instead of vegans, on study mentioned in this article compared a vegan group to a lacto-ovo vegetarian (a vegetarian who consumes dairy and eggs) and found that vegans had lower blood pressures.

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As a nurse practitioner in clinical practice, I have had the opportunity to witness many chronic diseases. Many of my patients have several diseases, take many medicines, and generally do not feel very well. Most of the time, it’s their lifestyle such as lack of exercise and poor diet which is the main contributor to their diseases. Adopting a vegan diet is a great way to take control of your health. It may not necessarily solve all of your health-related problems, but it sure is a step in the right direction. We here at Vegatana are here to support you on your vegan journey, we wish you great success and of course, great health.


References

1.) McMacken, M., & Shah, S. (2017). A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology : JGC14(5), 342–354.

http://doi.org/10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.05.009


2.) Ferdowsian, H. R., & Barnard, N. D. (2009). Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Plasma Lipids. The American Journal of Cardiology,104(7), 947-956. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2009.05.032


3.) Alexander, S., Ostfeld, R. J., Allen, K., & Williams, K. A. (2017). A plant-based diet and hypertension. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology : JGC14(5), 327–330. http://doi.org/10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.05.014

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