|Nutritional benefits of plant foods
Plant Foods are the ONLY source of Fibres and Complex Carbohydrates!
In fact, many plant foods are loaded with fibres. Besides that, many plant foods are rich in folate which protect against heart diseases by lowering the homocysteine in the blood. Plant foods also contain plenty of antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, which protects your body cells from damage by free radicals. They are also the only source of phytochemicals, which protect our health in many ways. As such, a vegan diet is a most natural and effective way to protect against many diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and stroke. What’s more, all plant foods contain absolutely zero cholesterol, and almost all contain insignificant amount of saturated fats.
Harmfulness of animal products
Animal Products are the ONLY source of Dietary Cholesterol!
Besides high cholesterol, they also contain high content of saturated fats, harmful excessive meat-proteins and high levels of toxicities due to pesticides and antibiotics. In fact, meat contains approximately 14 times more pesticides than do plant foods! And dairy and meat products have been found to be responsible for over 95% of the population’s intake of DDT! This is because livestock are often fed with grains that contain high levels of pesticides. Some of them are even fed with unwanted parts of other animals, which may lead to the occurrence and spread of many diseases such as the mad-cow and the bird-flu virus. For the livestock to survive in the harsh factory farming conditions, they are often injected with many chemicals and antibiotics to promote unnatural growth. All these will be passed to us when we eat their meat. Most importantly, animal products supply NO fibres or complex carbohydrates at all.
It is NOT a Question of getting enough Proteins, BUT one of getting too much!
We do not need to acquire protein from meat. There are plentiful in plant foods. In fact, unless one is starved of food, it is almost impossible to deficient in protein. Having 1 cup of soymilk or 1 serving of vegetarian baked beans already supplied us with 10g of protein out of the 50~60g, which is the maximum we might need in a day. Nevertheless, it is important that we eat a variety of plant foods.
Our body do not store excess protein. Excessive meat-proteins have been shown to be a significant factor leading to calcium loss from your bones, thus resulting in osteoporosis (weakening of bones). They exert a high toll on your kidneys as well. Click here for a more comprehensive article on protein by PCRM.
Good sources of protein: soya products, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, vegetables.
Countries with the Highest consumption of Diary products have the Highest rate of Osteoporosis! - US, Finland, Sweden, England.
We know that Calcium can be found in good amount in many plant foods. For anyone who is concerned with osteoporosis, calcium intake is only one of the many factors important for good bone health. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed 78,000 women for 12 years and found that those who drink 3 glasses of milk everyday had more fractures than those who rarely drink milk. The Eskimos consume more than 2000mg of calcium a day from fish bones, but they have one of the highest rate of osteoporosis in the world. One significant reason for all these is the excess protein in the diet. Milk and fish, like meat, contain too much protein for our body's needs.
Calcium can be found in many plant foods. In fact, many green vegetables have absorption rates of more than 50%; while only 32% of the calcium in milk is absorbed by the body.
Calorie per calorie, Spinach has 14 times the Iron of a typical Steak!
Almost all vegetables have higher iron content per calorie than meat, eggs or fish; while dairy products are deficient in iron, and may even inhibit iron absorption. Studies have shown that vegans do not suffer from iron deficiencies any more than meat eaters do. On the other hand, meat eaters may have harmful excessive iron stores in their bodies, which catalyses the formation of harmful free radicals, aggravating cancers, heart diseases and aging. This is because the body has no way of getting rid of excess iron, except blood loss through donations or other means. The excess iron just get stored up in our organs, waiting to cause trouble. As such, one should also be careful about iron supplements.
Include vitamin C in your diet, which are found abundantly in vegetables and fruits, to greatly boost the absorption of the non-heme iron in plant foods. Dairy products appear to inhibit iron absorption, which may explain why vegans have higher iron stores than lacto-vegetarians. Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies worldwide, for both vegetarians and meat-eaters. Women should pay extra attention to iron due to periodic blood loss.
Good sources of iron: dark green leafy vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), nuts and seeds, blackstrap molasses, sea vegetables.
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