America is in the midst of an obesity crisis, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to CDC estimates, more than one-third of Americans are considered clinically obese. It’s a condition that causes both mental and physical health problems. Obesity is linked to depression, as well as cardiac disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
Experts say the obesity epidemic is the result of a sedentary lifestyle that involves a poor diet combined with a lack of physical activity. A solution for older adults to consider, one that helps to avoid the perils associated with obesity, is a vegan diet.
Adhering to a vegan diet means eating only plant-based foods. Similar to vegetarians, who do not eat meat, a vegan goes one step further and does not eat any animal-sourced foods. This means no meat, cheese, eggs, milk, or any food substance containing ingredients sourced from animals (i.e. gummy bears). While that might sound a bit too restrictive, a vegan diet allows for many options.
When your diet is free from fast foods, trans fats, and animal products, and rich with fruits and vegetables, you consume more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a combination that promotes a healthier heart.
What are other benefits of a vegan diet?
According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegans are less likely to suffer from obesity, have healthier cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure. A vegan diet might also help to lower your risk for many kinds of cancer including colorectal and prostate cancer, which researchers believe may have links to meat consumption.
Another benefit for seniors on a fixed income is that vegan diets are typically easier on the budget. Meat and dairy often cause grocery bills to be higher. When you eliminate those, you can usually save money.
As is true of any lifestyle change, talk with your primary care physician first.
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