Benefits of a Vegan Diet for Seniors
Going vegan is the most restricted type of vegetarian diet. Seniors who choose to be vegan will eat fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and cannot eat any type of meat, seafood, poultry, dairy products or eggs. It is a very strict diet, but one that poses plenty of benefits. Many people are choosing to go vegan based on morals and not wanting to consume animal products, while seniors are making the change due to the variety of health benefits. Continue reading for a list of the health benefits and advantages to being vegan as a senior.
Protecting Your Eyesight
The first health benefit to seniors being on a vegan diet is improved eyesight. It has been proven that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is great for your eyesight and eye health, and even protects you against cataracts. Cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) disorder are significant risks as people age. Vegans have an extremely high amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet, making this one of the biggest advantages. Some of the best nutrients in these foods are vitamin E, for eyesight, and include carrots, papaya, peaches, spinach, mango, apricots, watercress, sweet potato and pumpkin.
Another health issue seniors face regularly is arthritis and osteoporosis. These medical conditions cause fractures easily, more so with an unhealthy diet. However, when seniors are on a vegan diet, they are getting a large amount of nutrients from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains, all of which can help protect against fractures. A common misconception is that without dairy, no calcium and vitamin D is consumed. However many foods vegans eat contain just as much of these nutrients as milk-based products.
Weight Loss – Weight differences can actually be a pro or a con, but with the right foods, it is a benefit for seniors. As we get older, our metabolism changes, mostly getting much slower. It gets easier to gain weight and more difficult to lose it. With seniors, cutting out foods and sticking to a strict low-fat diet isn’t always a good option. However, with a vegan diet, they don’t need to limit how much of the foods they eat, as long as they are choosing the right ones. This means filling up on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. The only way this is a disadvantage is if fattening, processed, junk food is being consumed in high quantities as opposed to fresh, whole foods with plenty of nutrients.
Switching from an animal diet to a vegan diet is a drastic change, and should never be done without approval from your doctor. You may want to change to the vegan diet slowly and with supervision. This is the safest way to make the transition. A great method is by slowly cutting out meat, then poultry, then fish, and then dairy and eggs.