7 health benefits and 7 health risks associated with a vegan diet

7 health benefits and 7 health risks associated with a vegan diet

A vegan diet is ultimately about supporting the greater good, but many people are unaware of the impact that going vegan can have on your body.

If you've been thinking of adopting a vegan lifestyle for a while now and are unsure of what the switch might do to your body, then a little research might go a long way to preparing you for the changes that your body will go through once you start a vegan diet. Giving up animal products for someone who has lived their entire life eating them daily can be a huge change.

A vegan diet can be a major lifestyle change. (Pixabay)
A vegan diet can be a major lifestyle change. (Pixabay)

There are so many things to look forward to and also to watch out for once you make the switch to veganism. It's important to be prepared and be aware so that you can mitigate the side effects that will arise as your body starts to accustom to the new sources of nutrition that you are pumping into it.

Read to find out the health benefits as well as the risks associated with going vegan.

Getting accustomed to a new diet can take some time. (Pixabay)
Getting accustomed to a new diet can take some time. (Pixabay)

1. You feel more energetic

People who adopt a vegan diet report having higher energy levels than when they had animal products in their diet. A large number of athletes have extolled the virtues of a vegan diet, having turned vegan not entirely for ethical purposes, but to improve their stamina and physical ability. Nuts and avocados are great for improving energy levels, and bananas provide potassium needed by the muscles.

Some athletes switch to veganism to build stamina. (Pexels)
Some athletes switch to veganism to build stamina. (Pexels)

2. You can become fatigued and experience headaches

One of the important things to look out for in a vegan diet is that you need to eat a lot more food to get the same number of calories. If you don't eat enough or skip meals because you're unsure of what to eat, you may end up feeling fatigued. It's important to always listen to your body when it feels hunger pangs and to keep snacks around.

You may experience headaches. (Pixabay)
You may experience headaches. (Pixabay)

3. You will lose weight more easily

A diet that has red meat in it drastically increases a person's chances of becoming obese or diabetic in the future. A vegan diet can counter this dangerous trend in the developed world by making it easier to maintain a healthy weight and also providing more healthful sources of nutrition. Vegans, on average, have a lower BMI than people who consume meat.

Veganism makes it easier to lose weight. (Pixabay)
Veganism makes it easier to lose weight. (Pixabay)

4. You may be undernourished or even gain weight

It's important to note that a vegan diet is not an automatically healthy diet. You still need to make conscious choices to fill your body with the right kind of food. Oreos and sodas are vegan, so are fries. You can easily tank up on the wrong kinds of food if you're not careful. Avoid prepackaged foods and try to start making your own meals to monitor what you eat.

You could gain weight if you're not healthy. (Pixabay)
You could gain weight if you're not healthy. (Pixabay)

5. Your skin will be healthier

Dairy is notorious for ruining the skin and contributing to breakouts on the face as well as making the skin drier and inelastic. Red meat has also been linked to dark circles around the eyes. Vegan diets are said to make the skin glow and renew it, giving it a break from all the hormones and toxins that are ingested in red meat and dairy products.

A vegan diet makes your skin glow. (Pixabay)
A vegan diet makes your skin glow. (Pixabay)

6. Sudden acne break out on the skin

There are two reasons why you might have acne after switching to a vegan diet. One of the first reasons is that your body is cleansing itself from all the junk you put into it before you turned vegan. If that is the case, you should see an improvement after a few days. If your skin is still breaking out, then you may be allergic to one of the vegetables or fruits in your diet. Identify the cause so you can avoid it.

You may break out if your skin doesn't agree with you. (Pixabay)
You may break out if your skin doesn't agree with you. (Pixabay)

7. Your digestive system will work more smoothly

One of the biggest benefits of a plant-based diet is that your digestive system suddenly has a whole lot more fiber to make food move through it smoother. You will be able to avert issues like constipation that is often caused by red meat in the diet. Additionally, people who are mildly lactose intolerant and unaware of it will see the benefits of cutting dairy from their diets.

Your fiber-filled diet will do wonders for your digestion. (Pixabay)
Your fiber-filled diet will do wonders for your digestion. (Pixabay)

8. You will experience digestive issues for a while

While in the long run, your gut will thank you for going vegan, immediately after you go vegan, your stomach and intestines may be overloaded with a kind of food they are not used to handling. If you were used to eating junk food, then the flora in your gut would have adapted to digesting them. They will need to adapt to your new diet, and for a while, the change will cause constipation, diarrhea, and bloating due to gas build up.

Your gut bacteria will need time to adapt. (Pixabay)
Your gut bacteria will need time to adapt. (Pixabay)

9. Your cholesterol levels and blood pressure will go down

One of the major health benefits of a plant-based diet is that you aren't flooding your body with unhealthy saturated fats as much as you would be on a diet that includes meat and dairy, with chicken being the biggest culprit when it comes to raising blood cholesterol levels. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and wholegrain contribute to lowering blood pressure.

A plant-based diet helps maintain blood pressure. (Pixabay)
A plant-based diet helps maintain blood pressure. (Pixabay)

10. Your bone health is at risk

Nearly 75% of all vegans are not meeting the amount of calcium they are recommended to consume daily, and research has shown that vegans report a higher rate of fractures when compared to the general dairy-consuming population. Even Vitamins D and K that are necessary for promoting bone health may be less available in the quintessential vegan diet.

Vegans are more prone to fractures.
Vegans are more prone to fractures.

11. You are likely to live longer

A vegan diet has been shown to reduce mortality rates, a longitudinal study of over 130,000 people conducted over the course of several decades discovered. When people ate meat and eggs, their life expectancy was reduced significantly compared to people who enjoyed a plant-based diet. Vegan diets help people manage their lifestyle and reduce their risk for various other chronic diseases.

Veganism helps you live longer. (Pixabay)
Veganism helps you live longer. (Pixabay)

12. You will experience a Vitamin B12 deficiency

People who don't eat animal products have no other natural, plant-based sources from which to obtain Vitamin B12. In order to avoid the negative effects of a Vitamin B12 deficiency, which include pernicious anemia and several neurological issues, the solution is to consume foods fortified with Vitamin B12, such as breakfast cereals and several dairy alternatives.

A Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect your nervous system. (Pixabay)
A Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect your nervous system. (Pixabay)

13. Your risk for many diseases is greatly reduced

Dairy products have been found to be connected to the onset of various health problems, including colon and breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. Processed meats and red meat have been connected to type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. Plant-based diets, on the other hand, have been found to 'reverse' symptoms associated with heart disease.

A vegan diet can reverse heart disease. (Pixabay)
A vegan diet can reverse heart disease. (Pixabay)

14. You may experience some detrimental effects

If you aren't careful about eating sufficient amounts of food every day to provide your body with all the fuel it needs to carry out its various metabolic processes, then you may very well reap the consequences of your poor diet. Some of the effects that an undernourished vegan may feel include low immunity, reduced stamina, disturbed sleep, muscle cramps, headaches or confusion, and hair loss.

If you don't eat healthily, you are at risk of some serious side effects. (Pixabay)
If you don't eat healthily, you are at risk of some serious side effects. (Pixabay)

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional or a dietitian if you experience any physical ailments.

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