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Of course, sacrifices must be made but the benefits are clear. So, what does being a ‘vegan’ actually mean and what health benefits does the lifestyle reward you with?
‘Vegan’ - undoubtedly one of the most common terms of 2021. The Oxford dictionary defines a ‘vegan’ as someone who “does not eat any food derived from animals and does not use other animal products” AKA no animal products at all.
1 - A higher intake of vitamins
Switching to a vegan diet eliminates any intake of meat or animal products, meaning your diet will rely heavily on other whole foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits and beans, providing you with numerous beneficial nutrients.
“It’s unlikely a vegan diet will cause an iron deficiency, as long as your diet includes fruit and vegetables of every colour” (Marco Springmann, senior researcher of environmental sustainability and public health at the University of Oxford).
Whilst a poorly planned diet can result in some nutrient deficiencies, if well-executed, a vegan diet can increase your daily intake of beneficial nutrients such as Vitamins A, C and E, and even fibre and antioxidants.
With Vitamin C helping to boost your immune system through producing more antibodies, and Vitamin E a powerful antioxidant which fights off infection, who wouldn’t want to stop being ill?
2 - Healthy Heart
Fats form part of a healthy balanced diet and should not be omitted from your diet completely, however, a high intake of saturated fat has been recorded to result in an increased risk of high cholesterol, and thus heart and circulatory disease.
According to the NHS, most people in the UK over consume their saturated fats, with current UK government guidelines stating that men should not consume over 30g and women 20g.
When investigating which common foods contain high levels of saturated fats (taken from Heart UK), we found that the larger majority are derived from animal products such as:
● Fatty Meat
● Processed meat
Switching to a vegan diet can result in a 75% decreased risk of developing high blood pressure and a 42% decreased risk of heart disease (PubMed Central).
3 - Lower Cancer Risk
It has been said that following a plant-based diet can reduce your risk of getting cancer by 15%. Biologically active compounds found in plants from fibre, vitamins and phytochemicals all work to protect cells from damage, which can result in cancer (Breastcancer.org).
More so, a study conducted by the IRAC, who form part of the World Health Organisation, investigated carcinogens found in red meats (beef, lamb, pork etc.) and processed meats (sausages, bacon, ham etc.) and linked their consumption to an increased risk of colorectal cancer (and possibly prostate and pancreatic cancer). Going vegan doesn’t seem like a bad idea, right?
4 - Prevention of type 2 diabetes
A plant-based diet can not only prevent type 2 diabetes but also is claimed to reduce the risk of poor kidney function. In a study conducted by PubMed Central, it was found that 43% of participants were able to reduce their lowering blood sugar level medication, due to vegans' lower blood sugar level and high insulin sensitivity.
Whilst admittedly, more research must be conducted, scientists also believe that diabetic people who substitute meat for plant protein can reduce the risk of poor kidney functioning.
5 - Improve your mental health
As we know, ‘health’ is not just physical, but also mental. A study published by the Nutritional Journal found that vegetarians may be ‘happier’ than meat-eaters, with vegetarians scoring lower on the depression tests and mood profiles. Nutritionist Geeta argues that this is due to an absence of ‘long chain fatty acids’ such as arachidonic acid which is associated with symptoms of depression. Due to the increased complex carbohydrates contained in plant-based diets, serotonin is increased, leading to an overall ‘happier’ mood.
It is clear why plant-based diets are growing at a fast rate, and at BANG! Curry, we provide for our vegan community by ensuring that all of our curry kits are 100% vegan and 100% natural.