A third of Brits are now eating less or no meat, according to the results of a Waitrose survey published in a press release today.
Nor is this surprising, considering the huge influx in veganism in recent years: a survey conducted in 2016 found the number of vegans have risen by 360 per cent in the past decade.
But why are people in the UK shunning meat? The reason why is not straight forward. Though some may be quick to presume that it is merely another social media driven fad, the truth is that society is becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits associated with veganism.
Dominika Piasecka, a spokesperson for The Vegan Society, explained the multiple reasons behind the rise in veganism to Yahoo Style UK: “The image of veganism is undergoing the most radical change in its history, while shedding some tired old stereotypes.”
She continued, “It’s no longer an extreme lifestyle, it’s easy and accessible – you can walk into any supermarket and be greeted by a huge range of dairy-free milks and many more other vegan-friendly products. It’s a great time to be vegan.”
To mark World Vegan Day, we take a look at the top ten reasons to go vegan:
A vegan diet could reduce your chances of cancer
Yes, this may be a bold statement but there is increasing evidence to suggest that a vegan diet could help to lower your chances of cancer.
The World Health Organisation has stressed that dietary factors are accountable for at least 50 percent of all cancers. Studies conducted in England and Germany revealed that vegetarians are 40 percent less likely to develop cancer in comparison to those who consume meat. Now that’s food for thought.
It could give you clearer skin
For those suffering from adult acne, it can at times seem as though nothing will ever combat those stubborn blemishes. But for several years it has been claimed that a diet free from dairy products could lead to clearer skin.
And there is evidence to suggest that the consumption of milk in particular, can increase your chances of blemish-proof skin. Not only is the byproduct packed with hormones but is one of the most pro-inflammatory items on the supermarket shelves.
And a diet rich in vegetables can help, too. An article published in Health magazine suggests that the zinc found in beans for instance can decrease inflammation. Therefore, can prevent spots.
It could improve your cardiovascular health
Multiple studies have suggested that a vegan diet could reduce the chances of developing heart disease. This is as a consequence to the fact that vegans have a lower saturated fat intake than others.
Dietician Bahee Van de Bor told The Independent: “At a biochemical level, when converting to vegan, animal model studies suggest that vegan proteins, particularly soy may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
It might make you smell sweeter
Yes, seriously. A 2016 study concluded that those who consume a leafier diet are more likely to have a sweeter smelling sweat, reports The Telegraph.
It might help you to lose weight
Studies have proven that vegans have a lower BMI than those who eat meat. And not only could a meat-free diet lower the risk of diabetes but it could help to prevent obesity.
London-based dietician Kamilla Schaffner told Yahoo Style UK that it is possible to lose weight but only if it is done in the ‘right and monitored way’.
She revealed: “A lot of the time clients that I see go for carb heavy foods like pastas, grains and starched like potatoes and yams. But vegan foods like green leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuces, chard, watercress) and super pulses like edamame, lentils and aduki beans are also vital for vegan nutritional strategy because they are jam-packed with nutrients.”
And a diet rich in fibre means that there is less chance of overeating or developing unhealthy snacking habits.
It could improve symptoms of PMS
For thousands of women, their period is not only a monthly inconvenience but a serious health condition.
However, according to a study conducted by Georgetown University Medical Centre, a vegan diet could lessen painful symptoms of PMS.
Out of the 33 female participants involved in the study, nearly all of those who stuck to a vegan diet noted that they experienced less pain for at least one and a half days of the month.
It could help you to live longer
A 2016 study suggests that a prolonged vegan diet could help to prevent approximately 8.1 million deaths a year. And with recent research driving the idea that veganism could help prevent obesity, it’s possible that the diet could help prevent the death of one in six adults in the UK.
Veganism could help to save the planet
It’s no secret that animal agriculture is incredibly harmful to the planet. The method of harvesting animals for food is responsible for 18 percent of toxic greenhouse gas emissions (which is more than the combined exhaust from vehicles).
According to PETA, to produce just one pound of meat 2,400 gallons of water is required while approximately 55 square feet of rain forest is destroyed for every single plate of meat served.
And if that isn’t enough to get you thinking, a 2008 study suggested that a meat-eater’s diet produces seven times more greenhouse gas emissions that a vegan’s.
It’s a more sustainable way of life
It’s not only the animals we need to look out for, as a plant-based diet could also lead the way to a more sustainable way of life. According to the Vegan Society, a vegan diet only requires on third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy lifestyle.
And with increasing food and water shortages across the globe, it could be a way to take a stand against unfair food systems.
A vegan diet can introduce you to a whole new dining experience
Switching up your diet and ditching meat and dairy products overnight won’t be easy. But the beauty of it all is that it will give you the chance to experience new foods and develop stronger culinary skills.
And there is a lot of support out there for vegan newbies. Websites such as The Vegan Society are on hand to offer everything from recipe advice to tips on how to stick to your beliefs when travelling the world.
Can anyone be vegan?
Dietician Kamilla Schaffner advised: “If you are suffering from chronic conditions or debilitating illnesses like adrenal burnout, or if you are in post-operative care or are an elderly person then being unsupervised vegan can be detrimental to your health or recovery.”
She continued, “Definitely seek professional help of a registered nutritionist to make sure you are not developing serious nutritional deficiencies.”
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