Plant-based eating isn’t a new concept by any frame of the imagination.
Thousands of years ago it wasn’t uncommon for people to obtain the majority of their nutritional intake from plants. However, in the past veganism wasn’t a lifestyle choice — it was done out of necessity.
In today’s modern world, we have access to all the food we can possibly imagine.
Along with the invention of food processing and mass farming came a dramatic change in most peoples diets. Overconsumption of meats and refined carbohydrates have lead to dramatic increases in the rates of preventable health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Some of the research done over the past four decades has highlighted the link between modern eating practices and some of the most serious health conditions humanity struggles to deal with — such as heart disease and diabetes.
Many people are starting to choose a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle to avoid the consequences of the modern omnivore diet.
In this article, we’ll discuss the rise of veganism, and mention a few key supplements vegans should consider taking to ensure they’re getting the nutrients their body needs to thrive.
Why Go Vegan?
Depending on who you ask, you may get a different answer to this question. Most people will tell you the reason why they decided to go vegan is a combination of health and moral grounds.
1. Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet
The leading cause of death for the last 15 years and running is heart disease .
This condition is closely linked with the high saturated fat intake of a meat-heavy diet.
A lot of people are starting to realise that although meat isn’t inherently “bad” for you, the excessive saturated fat intake on a diet mainly consisting of meats isn’t doing us any favours. This diet doesn’t provide the body with enough of the essential nutrients and antioxidants found in plant-based foods.
A plant-based diet is associated with reduced instances of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and metabolic disorders — all of which pose significant long-term negative effects on our health.
The Health Benefits of Veganism:
- Lower caloric density helps curb overconsumption & promotes weight loss
- High antioxidant intake protects the body from oxidative damage
- High fibre in plant-based foods supports a healthy gut microbiome
- Low saturated fat content may prevent high cholesterol levels
2. Moral Benefits of a Vegan Diet
The other major benefit of a vegan diet is that it has less ethical implications.
The scale of the farming industry has grown substantially over the past several decades to meet the growing demand for animal food products. Mass farming has developed into one of the most unethical industries the world has ever seen.
Each year, tens of billions of conscious animals are being brought up in terrible conditions only to be massacred, chopped into tiny pieces, and shipped to hungry customers around the world. Animals with lifespans in the decades aren’t even making it to their sixth birthday before they’re killed for their meat.
A lot of people are turning to veganism/vegetarianism as a way to fight these terrible industry standards by cutting the demand for meat.
How Common is Veganism?
Veganism is on the rise around the world.
Looking at global search trends we find the word “veganism” started a sharp increase since 2015 and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
(Google Trend Data for the Word “Veganism”)
Interest in vegan lifestyles is especially popular in the United Kingdom — which launched more vegan products in 2018 than any other nation.
Here at Focus Supplements, we’ve been moving towards a completely vegan-friendly product lineup for a few years now. All of our capsules are made with cellulose and the majority of our fillers are plant-based products (such as brown rice flour).
A recent poll in the United Kingdom found that 33% of people polled in 2018 say they’ve taken measures to eliminate or reduce their meat intake in the past year.
It’s likely that interest in veganism will continue to rise as more evidence comes out linking the negative health effects of a high-meat diet and the worldwide ethical and environmental consequences of our insatiable meat consumption becomes more apparent.
Top 3 Supplements for the Vegan Diet
Veganism offers clear benefits compared to traditional high-meat diets. However, there are some problems to watch out for — especially if you’re new to veganism.
We can obtain all the nutrients we need from plants — however, some nutrients are more challenging to find than others from plant sources. If we aren’t making sure the foods we eat can provide these nutrients for us, we can fall ill.
Let’s briefly go over the top 3 supplements every vegan should consider taking:
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is essential for building blood, skin, and nerve cells (among others).
B12 deficiency can cause serious, widespread issues throughout the body. As B12 levels drop, compounds like homocysteine that need B12 to metabolise begin building up in the bloodstream — which can lead to heart disease later in life.
Additionally, without adequate B12 levels, we can no longer manufacture new blood or nerve cells — leading to symptoms like cognitive decline, frequent infections, and fatigue.
Anybody can become deficient in vitamin B12, but as research repeatedly demonstrates, the rates are significantly higher in vegans that don’t take B12 supplements.
For this reason, vitamin B12 is usually the first nutrient on the list for vegans to consider taking. It’s a simple and highly safe supplement to take to ensure you don’t end up with any serious consequences from low vitamin B12 status later in life.
Magnesium shouldn’t need to be on this list as it’s contained in high concentrations in plants.
However, over several decades of overfarming, we’ve depleted much of the magnesium from our soils. It’s becoming increasingly common for people on high-plant diets to have magnesium deficiencies.
We need magnesium for hundreds of different processes in the human body. Deficiencies can lead to headaches, fatigue, frequent illnesses, poor wound healing, muscle twitches, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
For this reason, one of the best supplements a vegan could consider is magnesium. They’re cost-effective, safe, and can be incredibly valuable for preventing long-term nutritional deficiencies on an all-plant diet.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acids are essential to our health. We need it to produce messenger molecules that regulate processes like inflammation in the body. They’re also an important element of cell membranes that keep the membrane fluid and prevents them from becoming rigid.
There are few plant-based sources of omega 3 fatty acids — primarily in the form of seeds like chia, hemp, or sunflower.
Although these types of foods are easy to incorporate into vegan cooking, it’s difficult to eat enough to give the body what it needs.
For this reason, it’s wise to supplement omega-3 into the diet in the form of concentrated gel capsules.
Focus Supplements is Vegan-Friendly
Many of us here at Focus Supplements have decided to transition to a plant-based diet as well. This can range from eating meat only on rare occasions to avoiding it completely.
We believe the benefits of going vegan far outweigh the minor challenges a vegan faces in maintaining an optimal nutrition status. With some practice, a little bit of research and the right supplements, living a vegan lifestyle is more achievable than ever.
Through the use of plant-based cellulose capsules, plant-based fillers like brown rice flour, and various other vegan alternative ingredients, we’ve been able to eliminate 99% of animal byproducts from our entire supplement range.
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