The 8 Benefits of Going Vegan

Jane Marsh - September 5, 2022

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Transitioning away from meat-dominant diets towards eco-conscious alternatives can be challenging for many consumers. Individuals’ bodies, shopping patterns and cooking styles must change to accommodate plant-based consumption styles. Understanding the key benefits of vegan diets helps inspire consumers to make the sustainable transition.

What is a Vegan Diet?

Before assessing the eight benefits of going vegan, individuals must explore the diet independently. Plant-based consumers eat food grown from Earth’s soil. They consume fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, oils and grains.

Vegans consume zero animal products like meat, milk and eggs. They also eliminate their consumption of animal-produced items, such as honey. Many individuals adopt the diet to shrink their carbon footprints and improve animal ethics.

Other consumers eat plant-based to improve their health and well-being. There are eight major benefits of going vegan, supporting the global ecosystem and humanity.

1. Reducing Methane Emissions

When farmers raise cattle to meet beef-consumption demands, they produce methane emissions. Cattle release the greenhouse gas by belching, polluting the atmosphere throughout their lives. Livestock emits nearly 80 million tons of methane into the environment annually.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, producing more extreme ecological effects than carbon dioxide. It has a high heat production rate, raising the global temperature over time. When individuals adopt vegan diets, they lower the demand for cattle farming, minimizing methane emissions and preserving the atmosphere.

2. Conserving Water

Plant-based diets also benefit the environment by enhancing water conservation. As climate change increases the evaporation rate, water displacement leaves individuals without sufficient consumption sources. Today nearly 785 million individuals lack access to clean drinking water.

The agricultural sector, including animal farming, is responsible for nearly 70% of global freshwater usage. When individuals reduce their consumption of animal products, they improve water preservation, decreasing dehydration rates around the world. Eliminating animal products from your diet also minimizes soil erosion.

4. Decreasing Soil Erosion

If global society adopted a vegan diet, individuals would decrease land exploitation by 75% on average. The agriculture industry uses vast quantities of natural space to raise livestock. Farmers also exploit land to produce food for their animals, depleting soil nutrients over time.

Creating a kilocalorie of red meat takes nearly 100 times more space than a plant-based alternative. The maintenance of grazing land and livestock food production contributes to soil erosion, limiting a region’s ability to produce vegetation. When individuals consume vegan diets, they preserve natural spaces and prevent erosion.

5. Preventing Energy Exploitation

When consumers calculate their diets’ carbon footprints, they must consider every emission generated during the food production process. Animal agriculture has a larger ecological impact because of the extensive transportation process. After an animal matures, farmers transport them to a slaughterhouse.

Then, professionals either package the meat or send it to a packaging facility. Next, the product reaches a distributor who transports meat to supermarkets. Vegetables produce significantly fewer emissions during their transportation process.

Most plant-based products contain a natural exterior coating, preserving them during the trip from a farm to a store. They also have a singular line of distribution, decreasing vehicle-derived air pollution. Individuals can effectively reduce energy exploitation by eating plant-based diets.  

6. Filtering Air Pollution

Consuming a vegan diet also directly enhances natural carbon filtration processes. During the photosynthesis process, plants convert greenhouse gases into energy to grow. Some vegetation decreases local air pollution by 14.40% on average.

Larger, matured trees can absorb and filter large quantities of carbon dioxide. One tree may take in 48 pounds of emissions annually, decreasing atmospheric degradation. Vegan diets promote reforestation and vegetation development, improving local air quality and natural habitats.

7. Lowering the Risk of Heart Disease

Individuals also experience various health benefits when adopting plant-based diets. One notable advantage of vegan consumption patterns is their ability to improve heart health. Researchers found individuals consuming meat-less diets had 19% lower risks of developing heart disease.

Vegans also have lower body mass indexes (BMIs), additionally decreasing their risk of heart disease, diabetes and other adverse health effects. When individuals eliminate meat from their diets, they can significantly enhance their longevity and quality of life.  

8. Protecting Against Certain Cancers

Consuming plant-based diets also reduces individuals’ risk of developing cancer. Researchers found various elements contributing to the diet’s protection against certain cancers. They identified an increase in phytochemical consumption amongst plant-based individuals.

The plant chemicals protect individuals’ cells against damage and decrease inflammation. Both effects help the body fight off cancer cells. Women who eat vegan diets also have higher fiber intake levels.

Individuals who consume more fiber are 25% less likely to develop breast cancer. It also minimizes men’s and women’s risk for colorectal cancer. After evaluating the eight benefits of going vegan, individuals may feel compelled to change their diets.

How to Adopt a Meat-Less Diet

Consumers can transition away from carnivorous diets by first increasing their caloric intake of fruits, vegetables and other plants. Filling up on plant-based foods first will decrease one’s need for meat. Individuals can also consume vegan meat alternatives to curb their cravings during the transition, training their bodies to adopt sustainable consumption patterns. 

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About the author

Jane Marsh

Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.