Vegan vs. plant-based food: All you need to know | Niraamaya

Vegan vs. plant-based food: All you need to know.


We have all heard the adage — you are what you eat. No one takes this more seriously than us. At Niraamaya, our award-winning curative and functional medicine therapies are crafted to ensure that you are healthy from the inside out. For example, our Gut Restoration Program focuses exclusively on helping your gut absorb nutrients from food better. Our team of experts is always on hand to guide you on the path to great health by using a curated blend of sessions that cover nutrition, diet, and exercise.

In this blog post, we discuss the similarities, differences, and health benefits of two popular lifestyles — plant-based, and vegan. It’s no secret that today there are a plethora of diets and lifestyles to choose from, and these two seem to be trending the world over. However, there seems to be an overload of information available that is only going to confuse and overwhelm you.

Let’s start with the basic definition:

  • A vegan diet is a strict vegetarian diet devoid of animal products such as dairy, eggs, or meat. Those who live a vegan lifestyle do not use animal products such as milk, honey, or wool.
  • A plant-based diet comprises fruits and vegetables, a host of grains, oils, and seeds. A person following a plant-based diet may choose to also consume meat on occasions or use animal products.
What’s the difference?

Often, it is easy to assume that vegan food is the same as plant-based fare. Well, it is not, and here’s why:

Plant-based diets are mostly health-driven. In that, their mainstay is whole, unrefined foods. In this, folks consume fruits, vegetables, and legumes that are close to their natural state. The food is not processed or bleached. It is healthy and wholesome. In the case of vegan foods, they are ethically sourced, thereby, eliminating many animal products with health benefits. As a result, advocates of plant-based food have labeled some vegan food as unhealthy. For instance, a pack of potato chips can be considered vegan but its nutritional value is low.

This debate leads us to another differentiating factor that plant-based foods are a part of an eating pattern. It is mostly limited to food, while vegan food is part of a larger concept. Veganism includes but is not limited to food. It is a lifestyle. For instance, you will find that a person consuming vegan food is someone who also strives to shop in only sustainable fashion stores. Veganism comprises eating foods that do not contain animal products along with buying clothes and commodities from places that create them ethically without harming the environment.

While the two forms of diet are closely related and are subject to debate, they each have benefits.

Strongpoints of a vegan diet

Research has shown that vegan foods reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. For instance, in a conventional diet, one consumes red meat because it is a source of iron. This ends up being high in cholesterol which is bad for the body. In a vegan diet, one eats tofu and fruits to get the required iron without worrying much about one’s heart.

Vegan diets have also helped in lowering the risks of certain kinds of cancer and managing diabetes. Studies have shown that vegan diets reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because they are low in saturated fats and high in fiber, protein. They make it easy to control blood glucose levels. When these diets are combined with exercise they help in managing diabetes and overall health. Furthermore, vegan diets that comprise probiotic-foods can help decrease the symptoms of arthritis. This makes vegan foods a healthy alternative to reduce lifestyle-related health disorders.

Health benefits of a plant-based diet

Does this make plant-based diets less healthy? No. They have their own set of benefits that make them a healthy alternative to conventional eating patterns as well. Plant-based foods contain a host of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that keep your cells healthy. They ensure that your body is in a state of balance and your immune system functions optimally. This means that your body can fight off infections in a better manner because of a well-supported immune system.

Additionally, plant-based foods help you in maintaining a healthy weight. This means that it lowers the risk of cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Plant-based diets eliminate processed food which is the main cause of obesity. Here, one consumes more fiber which fills one up without adding more calories. Experts advocate at least 40 grams of fiber to maintain a healthy weight. This fairly easy target has helped many achieve a fit body.

Suffice to say that both vegan and plant-based diets have their benefits. Because there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to anything, folks can choose what works best for them and what aligns with their values.

At Niraamaya, we approach every individual’s needs differently. Our doctors draw up bespoke treatment plans for you only after a detailed consultation that examines every aspect of your health holistically. Come try our Niraamaya way of life.
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