Going Vegan for Gut Health: Why Some People Are Going Plant-Based

Veganism has taken the world by storm in the last several years. There are many reasons as to why so many people are suddenly turning to this kind of a diet. Some are doing it to help the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions caused by livestock. Others don’t want to partake in the abuse of animals that end up on our plates. Others are going vegan for gut health.

A recent 16-week vegan for gut health study found that a plant-based diet significantly increased diversity of stomach bacteria [1]. This change in gut biome composition came with immense health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at going vegan for gut health and some vegan gut problems you may face.

Why Go Vegan for Gut Health?

At Thryve Inside, we believe that good gut health can be achieved by almost any diet. The Standard American Diet (SAD) has led the nation to an obesity epidemic. About two-thirds of adults and 30% of American children are overweight or obese [2].

vegan for gut health and heart health
Veganism is a heart healthy lifestyle

There are plenty of healthy meats out there that can improve gut health. They include leaner proteins, such as fish and poultry. A little bit of red meat is very healthy. However, we tend to fill up on these proteins and drench them in hydrogenated oils and artificial ingredient-enriched marinades. 

The top reason why a lot of folks want to cut meat and animal products from their diet is for their own health. Yes, science has proven that vegans are more healthy exactly because of what they consciously choose to eat [3].

Almost 50% of meat-eaters say that they are interested in becoming vegan due to health benefits, and a lot of people who already converted to veganism say that they do feel a lot more healthy. Let’s check out some vegan for gut health stats that can back these feelings up, shall we?

Vegan for Gut Health Nutrition

vegan for gut health options
Get creative with your food choices!

The common misconception about vegans is that they are making unhealthy choices by not having access to enough vitamins and nutrients that are found in meat and other animal products.While it is true that stuff like calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 are not commonly found in vegan food, nothing stops vegans from taking these in the form of supplements. Some vegan foods are even fortified with extra iron and other vitamins.

Although high levels of protein are found in a lot of meats, many vegan meals have protein as well, such as:

Shall we tofu roast?
  • Nuts (Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews)
  • Spirulina
  • Seeds (Hemp, Pumpkin, Sunflower, Chia, Flaxseed)
  • Soy (Tempeh, Tofu)
  • Seitan (Wheat Germ)
  • Whole Grains (Amaranth, Farro, Wild Rice, Quinoa)

Most plant-based foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Going vegan for gut health also means you get an abundance of potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidants, and folate.

Vegan for Gut Health Weight Loss

Apart from all other benefits, many people choose to go vegan simply because they want to reduce their body weight. Weight management is best achieved when eating plants, fruits, roots, and other food that typically has low levels of saturated fat.

Ultimate Guide to Weight Gut Axis
Learn More: Ultimate Guide to the Gut-Weight Axis

Of course, nuts and seeds are very high in calories, so going overboard with them can actually cause you to gain some weight. However, without excess omega-6s inflaming triggering symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), most vegans don’t see issues from nut and seed consumption [4].

As long as you know what you’re eating and you’re treating yourself with the right doses, the weight loss is imminent.

Veganism and Decreased Risk of Cancer

healthy eating
Improve your plate,
improve your life

Food-related cancers are more common than you might think. A lot of them are deadly, like colon cancer or prostate cancer [5].

Although these diseases have no known cure, there is an effective way on how to prevent them. You just need to eat healthier.

Consuming different kinds of legumes can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by more than 15%.

One analysis noted,

“Legumes are good sources of dietary protein, vitamin E, vitamin B, selenium, and lignans with potential cancer-preventive effects. Legumes have a high content of vitamin B6 and vitamin B6 intake was reported to reduce risk of colorectal cancer [6].”

Sci Rep

Heart-disease deaths are fairly common in people who do not eat healthily. With a vegan diet, you will be 32% less likely to suffer a heart attack or have any potentially deadly heart diseases [7]. Plant-based eaters also have a 23% less chance to develop type-2 diabetes.

Vegan for Gut Health Problems

lectins and gut health
Lectins may hurt your
vegan gut health goals

Going vegan for gut health comes with its own set of problems. For one, you’ll be eating more dietary fiber. This change in diet is a great food for probiotic bacteria. However, it will also come with regulated bowel movements. It might be an uncomfortable transition, but your body will adjust.

If it doesn’t, then you might be sensitive to lectins. Lectins are proteins in legumes and members of the nightshade family. For some people, lectins act as antinutrients, binding to vitamins, and minerals our body needs to function. 

At Thryve Inside, we believe you should still live a healthy life without compromising your morals. That’s why we compiled a how-to for navigating a lectin-free diet and how to eat vegan with stomach issues

Thryve Probiotics Gut Health

Resources

[1] “Short-Term Study Suggests Vegan Diet Can Boost Gut Microbes Related to Body Weight, Body Composition and Blood Sugar Control.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 16 Sept. 2019, ww.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190916185819.htm.

[2] Murray, Christopher J.L., et al. “The Vast Majority of American Adults Are Overweight or Obese, and Weight Is a Growing Problem among US Children.” Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 27 Nov. 2018, www.healthdata.org/news-release/vast-majority-american-adults-are-overweight-or-obese-and-weight-growing-problem-among.

[3] Appleby, Paul N, and Timothy J Key. “The Long-Term Health of Vegetarians and Vegans.” The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26707634.

[4] Scaioli, E., Liverani, E., & Belluzzi, A. (2017). The Imbalance between n-6/n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Comprehensive Review and Future Therapeutic Perspectives. International journal of molecular sciences18(12), 2619. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18122619

[5] Goljic, Dusan. “57 Striking Cancer Statistics to Be Aware of in 2020.” HealthCareers, HealthCareers, 11 Feb. 2020, healthcareers.co/cancer-statistics/.

[6] Zhu, B., Sun, Y., Qi, L., Zhong, R., & Miao, X. (2015). Dietary legume consumption reduces risk of colorectal cancer: evidence from a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Scientific reports5, 8797. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep08797

[7] Kim, Hyunju, et al. “Plant‐Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All‐Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle‐Aged Adults.” Journal of the American Heart Association, 7 Aug. 2019, www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865.