Meat or vegan? Which diet is better for your health?

Is veganism good for my health?

A major study published in the British Medical Journal supports the theory that veganism could prevent some serious health conditions. The research looked into more than 48 000 participants in the course of over 18 years and classified them into three main groups: meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians, including vegans. 

The study found vegetarians were 22% less likely to develop a heart disease than meat eaters, which is the  equivalent of 10 fewer cases per 1,000 people over a decade. The research showed, however, that vegetarians and vegans are 20% more likely than others to have a stroke. While there is no concrete evidence suggesting why they are prone to having a stroke, researches believe it could be linked to low intakes of vitamin B12. 

Should I stop eating red meat?

What increases the risks of having a heart attack among meat eaters is the is the overconsumption of red meats such as beef, pork and lamb. Red meats are richer in saturated fats than  chicken, fish and vegetables, which raises the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Too much bad cholesterol can be harmful because it sticks to the inside walls of the arteries, making it hard for the blood to flow through the body. According to Heart UK, half of the British adults have increased levels of cholesterol. The best way to reduce it  is to consume less red meats and instead introduce more low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, poultry and fish to your diet. 

Will I lose weight if I become vegan?

Veganism can help you get rid of the extra pounds around your waist.  A 2016 Harvard study found that over the period of 18 weeks, those assigned to vegetarian diet groups lost significantly more weight than their non-vegetarian counterparts. The weight-loss process is also triggered by vegans’ high intake of fibre, found in pulses, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. 

Typically, vegans smoke less, drink less alcohol and exercise more, which alongside a balanced diet, contributes to their overall good health.  A rightly balanced diet could also lower the risks of getting type 2 diabetes. 

Can vegans get high cholesterol levels too?

The answer is yes. If you think that vegans and vegetarians don’t need to worry about their cholesterol levels simply because they don’t consume meat, you would be disappointed to read the next few lines. 

Processed foods such as plant-based butter and cheese, which contain saturated fats like coconut, palm and shea oils, can push your cholesterol level up.  High cholesterol can also be caused by genetic factors such as genes, family background and age.   

Which nutrients may I be missing from a vegan diet?

Humans can survive entirely on a plant-based diet, but need to make sure they get all the essential minerals they would otherwise get from animal products. While nutrients such as zinc, selenium, phosphprus, potassium, iron and calcium are found in a single piece of steak, vegans need to make sure they consume a variety of plant-based foods to avoid these vitamin deficiencies.   

If you want to learn more about vitamin deficiencies and find out if we were natural vegetarians, click on the radio package below:

Conclusion

Whatever diet you decide to adopt, the best thing for your health would be to include a wide range of foods.

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