I have two friends who are vegan, and both do so based on their beliefs about animal cruelty. Although both of them aren’t super in-your-face about their dietary choices, they do like to tease those of us who aren’t vegans by saying that they’re going to live longer. At first I didn’t doubt this. Both of them eat very healthy, eat primarily fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, all which are beneficial to your health. But then I put a little more thought into it. Vegans don’t eat any products that come from an animal, whether it be meat, cheese, milk, or even eggs. Without meat, they lack protein. Without dairy products, they lack calcium. Wouldn’t one think that living without these is detrimental to our health? Naturally, I took to the internet to find out.
It’s false to think that just because vegans don’t eat meat or dairy means that they aren’t getting the necessary nutrients, protein, and calcium. More often than not, they can acquire protein from alternate foods. Quinoa, Soy, Rice, and Beans are all high in protein count. Broccoli, Collard Greens, Kale, and Turnips are all very rich in calcium. Additionally, most vegans are advised by their doctor to take calcium and iron supplements daily. Although vegans can eat foods high in the vitamins and minerals they are missing out on by not eating meat and dairy, it’s not quite the same as if they were eating red meat and drinking milk. Regardless, the effects of not eating dairy and meat are not as detrimental to their health as long as they are getting protein and calcium in alternative ways.
As for whether or not they will live longer lives, things are looking up for the vegans. A study that started in 1958 but is not yet completed is beginning to indicate that people who eat plant based diets (in this particular study, they followed a group of Seventh Day Adventists), generally live approximately 6.1 years longer than those who do not abide by a strictly plant based diet. The reason behind this is pretty simple: vegan food is healthier than what non-vegans eat. Red meat is a large contribution to diabetes and heart disease. Dairy is good in moderation, but also is pretty high in fat content and cholesterol. Also, generally speaking, vegans eat less processed food and therefore are eating much cleaner than those who aren’t vegan.
It makes sense that vegans would live longer, and although we technically don’t have enough research to prove it scientifically yet, I am willing to believe that my vegan friends probably have a better chance at a longer life than I do. With that being said, being a vegan requires a lot of work and effort. The study is underway looks at vegans who eat primarily a plant based diet. Vegans who chose to eat a package of Oreos and a bowl of pasta a day, and don’t take vitamin supplements, certainly aren’t guaranteed a longer life.
I’m not advocating for everyone to go vegan, but their lifestyle is definitely one that has drawn my attention. Eating healthier, even if it isn’t fully vegan, most certainly has its health benefits