We are exposed to so many chemicals as it is — what with sitting in traffic and going out to dinner and breathing air pollution — that we don’t need to put any more in our body. Organic Lifestyle Magazine recently published an article detailing the state of research into organic foods and why it’s important.
Here’s what they say:
1-Better Overall Health
People on a vegan diet eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, nuts, berries, beans, and soy. As a result, they tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and a lower risk of cardiovascular and heart disease; type 2 diabetes; prostate, colon and breast cancers; macular degeneration; cataracts; arthritis; osteoporosis; PMS; migraines; and allergies.
A U.S. News and World Report article named the vegan diet as the best for overall weight loss, heart health, diabetes prevention, and long-term weight loss. Vegans have lower rates of obesity and weigh 5 to 20 pounds less than those on a meat diet. Studies show that vegans tend to eat fewer calories than meat-eaters and therefore have a lower body mass index (a measure of body fat). The vegan diet contains fewer saturated fats, so vegans have a better chance of losing weight and keeping the weight off. One study showed that people who eat a low-fat vegetarian (vegan) diet averaged a 24 pound weight loss the first year and kept the weight off 5 years later.
Many successful athletes are vegans. Too much fat in your bloodstream from eating meat prevents arteries from opening to supply oxygen to the muscles. Vegetarian diets are high in carbohydrates that are good for efficient energy conversion. Vegan athletes include marathon runner Scott Jurek, triathlete and ironman champion Dave Scott, NFL player Tony Gonzalez, and Olympian track and field star Carl Lewis.
4-Healthier Skin and Hair
Meat-based diets are high in fats that can clog skin pores, but a plant-based diet is low in fat and high in vitamins and antioxidants that are good for skin. Fiber and whole grains help your body flush out toxins, and vitamins C, A and E from a variety of vegetables and nuts help fight wrinkles and brown spots. The zinc found in beans may help to decrease acne.
5-Reduced Body Odor
One study in the Czech Republic found that those who ate a plant-based diet (vegetarians and vegans) were judged to have a more pleasant body odor than the study group who ate meat. The conclusion was that meat consumption has a negative impact on body odor. This is because the meat diet does not have an adequate intake of phytochemical and micronutrients, so cellular detoxification is impaired. Some vegans report fewer problems with bad breath and others have discontinued the use of deodorant products.
6-Boost Immune System
Eating fruits and vegetables means a diet high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help improve your immune system. A good immune system means your body’s cells and organs are working efficiently, so your body has defenses that protect you from the threats posed by bacteria and viruses. Your diet works in partnership with other good health practices such as getting enough sleep, reducing stress levels, and exercising.
A recent study of 173,000 people showed that vegetarians (and vegans) have a 20 percent lower mortality rate than meat-eaters. This means they live about 10 years longer. A 30-year study in Okinawa attributed the longevity of centenarians there to a fiber-rich diet of fruits, vegetables, unrefined complex carbohydrates, and soy.