In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in people turning vegan all over the UK. This growth in the vegan population has ultimately led to trends and changes from businesses looking to provide those much-needed alternatives to non-vegan products. Although some may view veganism as a diet trend, it can actually provide some very surprising long-term benefits as well!
Instead of hopping onto the Veganuary bandwagon every year and reverting back to meat come February, permanently becoming vegan can help improve your health and overall fitness dramatically! There are so many different benefits and advantages that you can expect to see when you fully switch to the vegan way of life.
So, how can veganism help improve your fitness?
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
There have been scientific studies conducted that have found vegan diets to be more effective at lowering cholesterol than other diets. LDL levels (also known as bad cholesterol) were reduced by between 15% to 30%; some heart disease patients who added chicken and fish to their diet even tended to get worse over time. So, it is proven that veganism can help with cholesterol.
The ideal cholesterol levels are under 200 mg/dl for healthy adults. Readings of 200–239 mg/dl are borderline high, and readings of at least 240 mg/dl are considered high. Eating more vegan foods, which can simply be more fruit and vegetables, will help reduce cholesterol levels, while foods high in saturated fats, like red meat, can increase cholesterol levels.
Increases Blood Flow
Good blood flow is essential for ensuring oxygen reaches the cells in our muscles, brain, and body - and vegan diets can help you increase that blood flow! A single animal-based meal has been found to thicken the blood, which slows down oxygen flow and nutrients. This is not ideal for our muscles, especially if you are a keen runner or avid exerciser. Arteries are also impaired by eating too much meat, which then goes on to decrease blood flow. Compare that to foods such as almonds, bananas, beets, and even carrots which allow blood vessels to open, and you can clearly see which diet is the most effective for our blood flow. We know which one we’ll end up choosing!
Reduces Body Fat
One of the popular reasons why people switch to a vegan diet is to reduce body fat, and it has been found to reduce calorie intake and increase energy expenditure. The less body fat you have, the easier it is to carry out fitness activities. The more body fat you have, the harder it is to excel in your chosen exercise.
Aim to keep your diet low in fat and high in fibre, and pair it with regular exercise, then see what differences it makes in the long run. Vegan diets not only help to lower your body mass index (BMI), but they can also lead to other weight-conscious decisions. Vegans typically see more weight loss than others who are just dieting.
Improves Blood Viscosity
On top of increased blood flow, vegan diets can also help to improve your blood viscosity. Reducing blood viscosity and improving arterial flexibility as well as endothelial function, vegan diets have been proven to improve vascular flow and tissue oxygenation. This ensures that you are able to improve your fitness and see a boost in your exercise performance. Many cardiovascular handbooks consider blood viscosity values between 3.5 and 5.5 cP to be normal, and going vegan can help you to achieve this. Blood viscosity is an underlooked area when it comes to fitness, but keeping on top of it can truly help you become healthier. Plant-based diets and athletic performance go hand-in-hand, so be sure to consider it!
Adds More Antioxidants
Several studies have reported that vegan diets typically provide more antioxidants. Sources of antioxidants include sweet potato, purple sprouting broccoli, red cabbage, asparagus, curly kale, berries, and avocados. Antioxidants slow cell damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules produced as a reaction to environmental and other pressures).
For fitness, it is best to add these foods into your vegan diet as antioxidants play a huge role in protecting cells from oxidative damage. They also help give us more energy which is needed for better performance. However, try to find natural vegan sources such as the ones listed above. Antioxidant supplements, those rich in vitamin E and C, block anabolic signalling pathways and impair adaptations to resistance training.
Treat Yourself (Or A Friend!) To A Monty&Ridge Vegan Letterbox Gift!
Monty&Ridge is jam-packed with unique, quirky and meaningful Letterbox Gifts that are absolutely perfect for vegans! Letterbox Gifts can be gifted to yourself when you need a pick-me-up or sent to surprise a vegan friend! We pride ourselves on having an extensive range of gifts with vegan-friendly products, including our very popular vegan sweets. We know it can be tricky to buy for vegans but look no further as we have perfect gifts for any budget. Click here to browse our collection.