In a recent survey, 52% of people said they had health concerns about becoming vegan. However, it’s perfectly possible to get everything you need from a totally plant-based diet, no matter your age or energy requirements.
But … you’d expect us to say that, right?
Well, you don’t need to only take our word for it. The British Dietetic Association agree that well-planned vegan diets can be suitable for people of all ages, including during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Our Nutrition and Health pages contain more in-depth advice and information written by a Registered Dietitian.
Not only is it possible to thrive as a vegan, but there is also mounting evidence to show that a balanced plant-based diet can result in a whole host of health benefits.
Going vegan is a great opportunity to review your diet and make more room for health-promoting plant foods like wholegrains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, including beans, peas and lentils. Research from King’s College London and the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that optimising your intake of these foods may help to increase the likelihood of you living a long and healthy life.
5-a-day and over
According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, people in the UK are consuming too little fruit, vegetables and fibre and too much saturated fat. This type of fat has been linked to high cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Eating a vegan diet means that you avoid consuming saturated fat from meat, dairy and eggs. Research from the Nutrients journal shows that healthy characteristics of real-life vegan diets include low saturated fat content and high amounts of fruit, vegetables and fibre, which suggests that switching to this type of diet has the potential to help people find a better balance.
The following World Cancer Research Fund recommendations for cancer prevention are easy to achieve if you’re eating a balanced vegan diet. This helps to explain why this way of eating has been associated with lower rates of some types of cancer:
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least five 80g servings a day
- Make wholegrains, beans, peas and lentils a major part of your daily diet
Furthermore, vegans benefit from avoiding red and processed meat, which The World Health Organization categorises as an agent that causes cancer and an agent that probably causes cancer respectively.
Vegan diets have been linked to lower rates of type 2 diabetes and there is clinical evidence that they can help with the management of this type of diabetes as well as weight management. Read more in the following articles from research journals: Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes Care, Nutrition & Diabetes, Obesity and another article from Diabetes Care.
Guidelines about heart-healthy living encourage consumption of wholegrains, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables, including beans, lentils and peas. Balanced vegan diets contain plenty of these nutritious plant foods, and in fact, UK research has linked this way of eating to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure and body mass index, which are all risk factors for heart disease.