First: A vegan lifestyle entails eating an entirely plant-based diet
One million people are vegan in the United States, according to data collected by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau. People choose to go vegan for many different reasons, whether it’s because they advocate for ethical treatment of animals or because they’re hoping to reap the health benefits of a vegan diet. It’s no secret that boosting your fruit and vegetable intake has major health perks, but that’s only if you do it the right way. Experts say a healthy vegan diet comes down to balance, conscientious eating, and food smarts. “Make sure it’s a well-balanced diet that has a wide variety of foods,” says Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Anything you eat can be unhealthy depending on how you make it.”
You may lose weight
Vegans feel more satiated after eating meals because they consume more nutrient-dense foods packed with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. A recent review published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine analyzed 12 different studies comparing people assigned to a vegetarian diet to people on a non-vegetarian diet. The results showed that the vegetarians weighed four pounds less than the non-vegetarians. According to another study, women who ate more fruits and vegetables were at a 28 percent lower risk of gaining weight than women who did not eat as many fruits and vegetables. “They’re putting more thought into their meals,” Sheth says. “They’re more mindful, so that whole attitude is going to promote weight loss.” These are some of the 10 healthiest vegetables you can eat.
You might make more frequent trips to the bathroom
A high-fiber, plant-based diet cleans out your intestines. Insoluble fiber holds more water, which can bulk up waste and help bowel movements pass more smoothly. Translation: You’ll notice bigger, softer stools. “Size matters, as they say,” says Liz Applegate, PhD, director of sports nutrition at University of California, Davis.