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Veganism: Dr Potter advises on switching to plant-based diet

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First, what is a vegan diet? A vegan diet excludes all animal products, allegra ghirlanda including meat, dairy and eggs; instead, the focus is on consuming plant-based foods. In the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers stated that plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, a higher adherence to a healthy plant-based diet was associated with a 19 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

What’s more, consuming a plants-based diet was also associated with a 11 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Such results, analysed over nearly three decades, suggests that a vegan diet could help you to live longer.

One possible reason for an extension of longevity for those following a vegan diet is the reduction in the consumption of saturated fats.

Animal products are the main dietary sources of saturated fats, Medical News Today confirmed.

And, according to the American Heart Association, eating foods that contain saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol is a precursor for heart attacks and strokes, which can severely shorten a person’s life.

The NHS Foundation Trust at Royal United Hospitals, Bath, said: “Plant-based diets can be a healthy way of living providing a variety of sources are used as replacements for meat and fish.”

Meat alternatives can include: beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soya.

The British Nutrition Foundation explained a plant-based diet has an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds and oils.

Red and processed meat, on the other hand, may be declining in popularity as there is a link between these foods and an increased risk of cancer.

Thus, by the same token, refraining from eating meat could reduce your cancer risk.

There are other well documented health benefits of a vegan diet, ranging from a reduced risk of diabetes to lowering blood pressure and promoting a healthy body weight.

The British Nutrition Foundation explained why this would be so.

“Plant-based diets tend to be higher in many foods that are important in our diets, such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and pulses,” the organisation rationalised.

“As a result, these diets tend to provide higher amounts of dietary fibre, while being lower in saturated fat and free sugars, than other dietary patterns.”

However, vitamin B12 and vitamin D “are naturally absent from most plant foods”.

These vital nutrients may be present in fortified foods, so people following a vegan diet are still able to get all the nutrients they need.

Other nutrients can be obtained by taking supplements if you are unable to eat a healthy diet all of the time.

Key nutrients that may be low in a vegan diet include: calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you would like to know more about Veganuary, you can read more about the challenge here.

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