A vegan lifestyle can be extremely healthy, however learning about the potential dangers of veganism can help to ensure that problems do not arise.
The vegan lifestyle means that no animal by products are consumed in any form. Not only does this mean that no animal products are eaten, it also means that no animal products are worn or consumed in any other way. While this might seem very straightforward and as simple as not eating meat or wearing fur or leather, the implications are actually very far reaching and can affect the long-term health of an individual. Being a vegan is a lifestyle choice and people need to be aware of all aspects and implications of this choice, including any potential dangers of veganism, before embarking on this new way of life.
Potential Dangers of Veganism
While a vegan lifestyle is generally considered to be extremely healthy, there are potential dangers and pitfalls. Knowing about these early on can help an unwary vegan to avoid problems with their health or well being later. Some of the potential dangers include:
One of the biggest dangers of veganism is that the restricted diet may cause malnutrition. This isn't unique to veganism; any restrictive diet can lead to a lack of important nutrients. The main nutrients that can be lacking in a vegan diet include vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids. These deficiencies can cause ailments such as anemia and osteomalacia, a condition that damages bones. In children these deficiencies can result in rickets and other potentially serious illnesses.
While there are valid concerns, with a little extra care a vegan can receive all the necessary nutrients that are important for a healthy body. Foods such as tofu, seitan and egg substitutes as well as nutritional supplements can all help to ensure that a vegan obtains a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Lack of General Good Health
A fear that people express about a vegan diet is that people who lead this lifestyle are underweight, unhealthy and susceptible to many minor ailments.Most vegans find that their diet, which is based on nutritious and wholesome food, actually helps to build up their immune system and help them fight illness. The perception of vegans being sickly and underweight is also ill-founded. As veganism has increased in popularity, so has the availability of a wide range of nutritionally rich vegan food and supplements. Vegans can be as healthy and as fit as omnivores.
Babies and Children
Babies and children are particularly susceptible to malnutrition. It is essential that children of all ages who eat a vegan diet receive the necessary nutrients to help them grow and remain healthy. Pregnant vegan women may also be advised to take certain supplements during their pregnancy and while breast feeding. Pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant who lead a vegan lifestyle should consult a doctor or dietitian if there are any concerns about proper nutrition for conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
How to Avoid the Dangers
Many people share these and other concerns about embracing a vegan lifestyle. If you're considering going vegan, and you are still concerned about getting proper nutrition, consult with your health care provider, a nutritionist, or your doctor. A doctor or nutritionist offer specific advice based on a person's health history and any important factors that need to be considered.
While a vegan lifestyle can be healthy and rewarding, there are some potential dangers of veganism. Understanding these will help to ensure that a vegan leads a healthy life and free from any future problems.