Veganism is steadily growing in the UK, with numbers quadrupling since 2014. Companies are responding to this growth by launching new vegan products and making options more readily available for consumers.
Whether it’s environmental benefits, animal activism, weight loss or nutrition, there are many reasons why people are turning to a vegan diet, or simply reducing their meat and dairy consumption. Here at Tempo, we’ve been looking at the benefits of veganism and have listed some of the top health benefits we found.
- Increase in certain nutrients - Compared to your typical Western diet, vegan diets tend to be higher in fruit and veg, wholegrains, pulses, nuts and seeds. For example, leafy green vegetables, broccoli and spinach are rich in Vitamin A. You can get a lot of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables like peppers, potatoes and citrus fruits. Cereals, grains, nuts and pulses are all great sources of fiber which helps digestion and reduces risk of illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
However, there is also evidence to show that vegans can lack in vitamin B12, iron, calcium and zinc. This is why it’s important to plan balanced meals and consider supplements for nutrients you may be lacking in, as with all diets.
Here at Tempo, you can supplement your drinks to support your nutrition. We have CBD oil, guarana, protein, electrolytes, probiotics and kombucha. Our vegan protein is a great add on for vegan milk teas and will help your body to build and repair tissue, heal and fight illnesses.
- Improve your heart health – as above, a balanced vegan diet is likely to be high in fruit, vegetables, pulses and legumes, and to be packed full of fibre. An 18 year study conducted by the University of Oxford, showed that vegetarians and vegans had 22% lower risk of heart disease. This could be due to lower intake of saturated fats, increased fiber and the wealth of benefits that come from increased plant consumption. Of course, you do not need to be strictly vegan to reap the health benefits - setting simple goals like eating more portions of fruit and veg will improve your nutrition.
- Improve your mood - it might be one that we don’t think about as often, but food and mood are intrinsically linked! If you think about how you feel after having a heavy processed meal, it’s likely it can make you sluggish, low in energy and therefore not in a great mood.
People often report better mood after switching to a more plant based diet. There are many reasons foods can affect your mental health and cognition. One of which is thanks to an amino acid called tryptophan. This is used to produce serotonin, linked to happiness. Sources of tryptophan include various seeds, peas, broccoli, leafy greens, mushrooms and soy beans. In addition to this, meals high in protein can lead to more competition for this amino acid to enter your brain - so eating a small amount alongside a meal which is high in animal protein, may not have the same effects.
- Reduce your cancer risk - There has been a wealth of research into food and cancer risks and with new research in the media almost daily, it can be hard to keep up with. Nevertheless, one thing that has been fairly consistent in research studies is lower cancer rates in people who don’t eat meat, and particularly in vegans.
It is unclear whether this is due to cutting out meat, or what people with these diets eat instead. As discussed above, there are many nutrients in plant based foods that fend of illness and give a range of health benefits. There is also thought to be chemical compounds which are released when red meat is cooked that are linked with cancer.
- Lose weight and let your skin glow - Not only can a vegan diet improve your health on the inside, the benefits can shine through. Reduced meat and dairy consumption have been found to help with conditions including acne, eczema and psoriasis. Further to this, plant based diets have been shown to help with weight loss. The evidence on why is mixed but it may be due to less saturated fat or higher fiber consumption.
So, will these health benefits encourage you to experiment with some vegan options? Remember, it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Why not try a few meat free meals per week, and one completely vegan recipe to see how you get on? You can always bulk out meals using beans or lentils, which is also kind on your purse strings! You could even try just reducing the amount of meat or dairy in your favourite meals and adding more veggies in their place.
Remember at Tempo, all our fruit teas are vegan friendly, and you can make many of our milk teas vegan including vanilla, matcha, brown sugar. Ask in store and we’d be happy to help! And you can shop our vegan range online now