A vegan diet is a type of vegetarian diet that avoids the use of meat, fish, and fowl. The diet also foregoes having other animal products, including honey and milk. Vegans follow their diet strictly, and eliminate the use of animal products, like soaps and leather. The choice of this diet and lifestyle is often based on a number of environmental and personal reasons. Many of the cruel practices in rearing animals force some to go vegan, while for some others, having flesh-free diet becomes more acceptable.
A vegan diet includes a lot of organic fruits and vegetables, soy products, beans, nuts, whole grain cereals, and other products similar to those mentioned. Experts are of the opinion that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fats has a number of health benefits. Studies show that cutting down red meat in the diet helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, reports from some of the major studies show that plant-based diet helps in controlling type 2 diabetes. People who follow a vegan diet have improved insulin sensitivity when compared to those who follow other diets. The overall body mass index (BMI) of a vegan is found to be lower when compared to omnivores or carnivores.
High-fiber diets followed by vegans help in detoxification and cleansing of the body as well. Some experts claim that by avoiding animal products and additives in food, one tends to be thinner and healthier. Talking of fat options in the diet, vegans generally prefer canola and olive oil, two sources of healthy fats. It is still not clear whether vegan diet is effective in preventing different types of cancer. But many studies do suggest that avoiding meat and other animal products reduces the chances of prostate and gastrointestinal cancers. Experts suggest that including more plant products gives a good amount of fibers, carotenoids, vitamins and minerals, all of which protect the body against a number of diseases including cancer.
A typical vegetarian diet usually has lesser amounts of calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. Lack of vitamin B12 in the diet may result in complications, including anemia, muscle weakness, tingling and numbness of limbs, and even blindness. Calcium intake may also be lower in pure vegetarian diet and vegans may have to depend on supplements to get adequate amounts of these minerals.