Are Vegan and Vegetarian Diets Also Good For Anti Aging?
One of our favorite websites, The Frugal Pig, listed some very good reasons to consider celebrating Meatless Monday or Tofu Tuesday in 2016. Of course, the emphasis at “The Pig” was on avoiding animal protein as a frugal and sustainable diet measure. It’s hard to argue with that logic, but we’d like to emphasize the virtues of eating less animal protein as a recipe for a longer and healthier life.
After all, Christie Brinkley, at age 61, attributes her youthful, model looks to her vegan diet, so that certainly is worth some attention! It’s also not difficult to find many examples of people who credit vegetarian and vegan diets and are still healthy and alert past 90 and even 100. In that spirit, it’s time to explore the anti-aging benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Vegan vs. Vegetarian: How to Start Eating More Plant-Based Food
It’s worth it to mention the difference between vegan and vegetarian diets. Typically, vegetarians will avoid meat. However, they still may consumer eggs and dairy products. Typically, vegetarians have no problem with animal products that are used to make leather, down, etc. Vegans avoid all animal products. They won’t eat eggs or dairy products, and they usually have no problem with down coats and leather shoes.
People who have consumed animal products all of their lives might find it difficult to switch to a fully vegan diet. Many vegans start off as vegetarians and then switch to vegan diets as they get more comfortable finding vegetable protein sources. This is worth mentioning because it may not be easy to make an abrupt diet change. It might not even be healthy. Starting by abstaining from pork, beef, chicken, etc. might be a way to begin changing a diet in a healthy and gradual way.
The other point that should be made is that it’s perfectly fine to just begin by trying to consume less meat. This tactic might include only eating plant foods one day a week, for certain meals, or using meat as a side dish or condiment and NOT as the main dish.
Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
Hydration: As people age, they don’t store as much water in their bodies. This is one reason that dehydration is a bigger concern with older people than with younger adults. Most plant-based food naturally contains a lot of water that can be released gradually to cells. This may help stave off dehydration and send more moisture to skin for smoother and softer skin. Hydration is one big reason to consume more fruit and vegetables.
Anti-aging nutrients: Plant-based diets are usually very rich in anti-aging vitamins, like, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C. It’s much easier to consumer plenty of these vitamins and dozens of minerals and micro-nutrients while consuming a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Health benefits: The health benefits that have been attributed to plant diets include weight control, heart protection, and even lower anxiety levels. Except for fish, food that is usually suggested to help prevent heart disease and cancer usually comes from the category of seeds, fruit, and vegetables. The essential fatty acids in fatty fish can also be found in plant-based protein sources like seeds and nuts.
Should You Try a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet to Stave Off Aging?
Again, it’s not easy to drastically change a diet overnight. Most folks slide into it gradually, and in order to change your diet in a healthy way, you will probably want to spend some time reading books or resources on the Internet about how to have a healthy vegan or vegetarian diet. It’s easier than it used to be because you can find an abundance of vegan replacements for different types of animal-protein at most grocery stores.
For example, you might try almond milk instead of regular milk with your morning cereal. Try making your lasagna with eggplant or mushrooms instead of meat. The list is endless, but you get the idea that you might take baby steps at first. If you can’t give up burgers, try vegetarian burgers that can be found in most freezer sections or made with recipes that are commonly available online. Once you start trying diet alternatives to meat and other animal proteins, you might wonder why you ever preferred meat in the first place.