Over the last three years, the number of vegans has increased by more than 600% in the United States alone.
It’s clear that more and more people are seeing their responsibility to the environment and our animal neighbors, and that’s showing up in our food choices. Of course, many people have a hard time giving up meat.
Fortunately for conscientious meant-lovers, plant based pork, beef, and even chicken substitutes made from soy are rapidly becoming more similar to real meat. This is thanks to scientific advancement, as well as to studious research by companies providing meat substitutes made from plants. Some people can’t even tell the difference between meat substitutes and the real thing.
The following are nine surprising benefits of consuming a plant-based diet with meat substitutes.
1. Conserve the Environment
It’s easy to think of environmental resources like water and space as being plentiful. But with the human population increasing rapidly, it may become dangerous to assume that for long. Plants require far less clean water to flourish than animals do, and a good deal less space to grow in. By shifting the market to plant-based foods, we can conserve water, and free up space for more important things like housing.
2. Reduce Animal Suffering
By swearing off real meat, you will no longer be a responsible party in the suffering of innocent animals around the world. Even better, you’ll be helping to shift the global economy away from the meat industry, leading to a real decrease in animal suffering.
3. Sleep Better
In addition to the moral and environmental benefits (which may help improve your sleep by themselves), eating a plant-based diet comes with a plethora of health benefits. One health benefit of a high-quality plant-based diet is that you will be able to sleep better at night.
4. Avoid Constipation
A plant-based diet can also help relieve constipation.
5. Lose Weight
Weight loss is bound to happen anytime you’re consuming more plant-based vitamins, minerals, and fiber than you are of animal fats and proteins. In fact, you can lose up to five pounds in just two weeks on a vegan diet—without having to go hungry.
6. Avoid Chronic Illnesses
By decreasing the amount of saturated fat in your diet, while simultaneously increasing fiber and vitamin content, you will become less susceptible to diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In fact, outside of giving up smoking and alcohol, starting a vegan diet is the single best way to avoid cancer.
7. Lower Blood Sugar
A plant-based diet can help you fight high blood sugar. Plant-based foods tend to be high in fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream. This helps to balance cortisol levels, which relieves stress and helps diminish feelings of hunger throughout the day. Conversely, meat has been shown to raise blood sugar.
8. Lower Cholesterol
Plants contain no cholesterol, so people on a plant-based diet naturally have lower cholesterol levels.
9. Increase Potassium in the Body
Potassium helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, but meat products have almost no potassium in them. On the other hand, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains are full of potassium.
There’s a lot more to a vegan diet than helping animals and saving the environment—it has a lot to do with improving your own well-being. And thanks to science, vegans no longer have to deal with weird-tasting soy patties as a substitute for meat. Hopefully, these benefits will help you decide where to take the future of your diet.