By John Ensor •
Published: 01 Nov 2023 • 20:24
Today is World Vegan Day, a lifestyle that is becoming more and more popular with many well-known celebrities taking it up, but is it really good for our health?
Is the choice of a vegan diet dangerous or a healthy step towards a sustainable future? On World Vegan Day the dialogue around plant-based eating takes centre stage, writes Telecinco.
Celebrated annually, World Vegan Day on November 1 becomes a moment for reflection and education. In Spain, where vegans accounted for 0.2 per cent of the population in 2017, their numbers have quadrupled to 0.8 per cent in five years, reports ‘The Green Revolution’ by Latern.
Some adopt a vegan lifestyle due to the ‘psychosocial trend,’ driven by concerns over climate change and sustainability. According to Maria del Valle de la Orden Parque, a nutrition psychologist, others are motivated by health.
According to the World Population Review, the country with the most vegans in the world is the UK, followed by Australia and Israel.
Vegans abstain from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey, which, as Pablo A. Lopez, a dietician, notes, ‘Food reduction limits the options for maintaining a healthy diet.’ Following vegan stipulations requires careful planning to ensure one’s body is getting the nutrients it needs.
Lopez confirmed that in itself, a vegan diet is not dangerous to one’s health A well-structured vegan diet can rival the health benefits of a varied omnivorous diet. However, there is a caution. Lopez emphasizes the need for vitamin B12 supplements for vegans which is not found in plant foods.
The American Dietetic Association states that well-planned vegan diets may offer health benefits and prevent certain diseases. They are deemed appropriate for various life stages, including pregnancy and adolescence, and for athletes.
Evidence suggests that plant-based diets could reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians often present lower levels of cholesterol and lower rates of hypertension and diabetes, although any balanced diet could mitigate these risks.
Lopez advises that a vegan diet should incorporate proteins from legumes, seeds, nuts, and carbohydrates from sources like potatoes and whole grains. Spices, olive oil and soy sauce can also be used to add different flavours.
Before embarking on a change to a vegan diet it would be wise to seek professional guidance in order to prevent deficiencies and associated health issues such as anemia or malnutrition.
De la Orden Parque points out potential psychological effects for those adopting veganism purely for health, such as the risk of orthorexia – an unhealthy obsession with eating healthily.
Particularly vulnerable are younger people, who might experience heightened levels of depression, anxiety, and adolescents who have a tendency towards eating disorders.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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