From being a chubby-faced cricketer who loves his homemade delicious Punjabi food, especially his personal favourite, biryani, Virat Kholi has been on a remarkable transformational fitness journey. Kohli’s current diet includes protein shakes, vegetables and soya, as he’s given up eggs and diary for good.
“Kohli started this diet four months ago and is feeling stronger as his digestive power has increased. He isn’t missing meat, eggs or diary. Two years ago, when he was on a normal diet he had said that he would go vegan if given a choice. He is now feeling stronger than before,” claims sources.
The news of captain Kohli turning vegan has stirred the age-old debate over whether the vegan diet is healthy or not. While the Indian skipper’s decision to go vegan might be a part of his fitness journey, it is important to note that many celebrated sports personalities like Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton and Carl Lewis are already a part of the vegan club and are seen promoting the vegan lifestyle.
So, whether you are planning to turn vegan or are just curious about the health benefits that this plant-based diet has to offer, here is all that you need to know.
What is the vegan diet?
A vegan diet is a completely plant-based diet consisting of vegetables, beans, grains, nuts etc.
Being vegan is different from being a vegetarian, as they still consume dairy and eggs, and it is NOT an abbreviated way to say ‘vegetarian’.
What all can you eat if you’re going vegan?
Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive.
1. Vegetables and fruits
3. Beans and legumes
4. Nuts and seeds
6. Plant-based oils
What are the health benefits of going vegan?
While researches have shown several health benefits of a vegan diet including high vitamin C levels and fibre levels when compared to a non-vegan diet, it is how you follow the diet that decides its health benefits. Ultimately, it all depends on what you eat as even if you are living on fries and chips (yes, they are vegan) while being on a vegan diet, it is not good for your health.
1. Risk of cardiovascular disease drops
It is an established fact that diets containing meat are rich in saturated fat and cholesterol. On the other hand, by going vegan you significantly reduce the saturated fat intake, which in turn, lowers your risk for heart diseases.
2. You lose weight
As you switch to a plant-based diet which is rich in fibres, you may start to feel full sooner than usual, thanks to the fibre-rich diet that is easier on the digestion.
3. You might become happier
No, we are not kidding. A research has found out that those who follow vegan diets might be happier than those who eat fish and meat.
4. Fewer migraines
Foods like chocolates and cheese are one of the most common triggers for a migraine as it is linked to our diets and eating habits. Hence, if you are on a vegan diet you are automatically more mindful of what you are putting inside your mouth, leading to fewer migraine triggers.
5. Healthier skin
Being rich in Vitamin C, a plant-based diet could do wonders to your skin. This happens because a vegan diet tends to be rich in antioxidants, which helps fighting acne and other skin issues. It also provides a healthy glow to your skin and helps with collagen synthesis, which in turn keeps your skin looking younger and healthier.
Vegan for the environment?
Interestingly, this plant-based diet is exceptionally good for the environment as according to the researchers at the University of Oxford, shunning dairy and meat products could reduce a person’s carbon’ footprint (from food) by up to 73 per cent.
It could also result in a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions as the findings of the research point out that meat and dairy productions are responsible for 60 per cent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions while using 83 per cent of the farmland.
However, one must remember that when you are eliminating animal and animal products from your diet, you are also putting yourself at the risk of missing some important nutrients including vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
If you are following a strictly vegan diet, make sure that you take additional supplements to balance your diet, as some vitamins like vitamin B12 occur naturally only in animal foods like eggs and milk. In fact, plant-based calcium and iron are not as easily absorbed when compared to the kind in meat.
Keep in mind that balance is the key as following a vegan-diet does have health benefits if it is well-planned.
With inputs from TNN