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Are there health benefits to going vegan?

Are there health benefits to going vegan?

  • By - BEVRY ‎
  • 01 November, 2020

With the increase in the demand for healthy products in the world more and more people are eating vegan meals- and part of the reason is it’s seen as healthier. But is it better for you? We look at the evidence.

Over the last decade, the number of people cutting down on meat and dairy from their life has gained friction. For example, the number of vegans in India has quadrupled between 2017-2019, according to research by The Vegan Society.

The main reason behind shunning meat and dairy and choosing for going vegan is because of the promised health benefits. The vegan diet is considered to be in higher in fibre and lower in cholesterol, protein, calcium and salt than an omnivorous diet-but there are misconceptions and concerns around cutting meat, fish, eggs and dairy completely from our diets.

One regular concern is whether a vegan diet gives enough nutrient B12. B12 forestalls nerve harm and is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy, yet not in natural product or vegetables. It's suggested that adult’s consumer 1.5 micrograms of the vitamin every day.

“A B12 deficiency can lead to neurological symptoms such as numbness, and it’s irreversible if the deficiency is present for too long,” says Janet Cade, of the Nutritional Epidemiology Group, School of Food Science and Nutrition.

A recent study involving 48,000 people over 18 years compared the health of meat-eaters, pescatarians – who eat fish and dairy but not meat – and vegetarians, including some vegans. They found that people who eat vegan and vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but a higher risk of stroke, possibly partly due to a lack of B12. 

The researchers found that those who didn’t eat meat had 10 fewer cases of heart disease and three more strokes per 1,000 people compared with the meat-eaters. Researcher Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, says that higher risk of haemorrhagic stroke could be for several reasons.

Haemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain. While low cholesterol is protective for heart disease and ischemic stroke, there’s some evidence showing that low cholesterol levels (associated with the vegan and vegetarian diet) may be linked to a small risk of haemorrhagic stroke.

But it’s easy to get the ‘minuscule’ amount of B12 we need from nutritional yeast or fortified food, such as plant-based milk like Oat Milk, says Marco Springmann, senior researcher of environmental sustainability and public health at the University of Oxford.

In countries where food isn’t fortified with B12, he recommends vitamin supplements. However, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that nutritional yeast isn’t an adequate source of B12, and vegans must take supplements or eat a fortified food.   

Another common concern for those tempted to transition is whether a vegan diet provides enough protein. But while there isn’t much protein in fruits and vegetables, Springmann says, this isn’t cause for concern.

“We’ve found that the vegan diet could be one of the healthiest diets, outperforming pescatarian and vegetarian, because the vegan diet is higher in fruit, vegetables and legumes and the health benefits from this compensate anything else,” says Springman.

He advises eating plenty of fruit and vegetables with a variety of colours, nuts, whole grains and beans and lentils, as well as chia, hemp and flax seeds, which contain omega 3.

For those who worry that the vegan diet doesn’t offer enough variety, then they should check the vegan community pages where people post all sort of delicious food and drinks which are all 100% vegan. Bevry Oat Milk is one of the main ingredients that now vegan community members have started using because of its healthy, tasty, and natural flavour.


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