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Becoming a veganism over 50’s, what it means?
If you are considering veganism, chances are you have heard of what it can do for your health.
In an article published on the Harvard Health Publications, the a vegan diet brings many health benefits, including the prevention of three key diseases such as:
Several studies have presented the assertion that adopting a non-meat diet can help reduce risks for cardiac events, as well as death from cardiac causes.
For instance, one study involving 65,000 people conducted by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition found that there was a 19% lowered death risk from heart disease for vegetarians in the group.
Additionally, combined analyses from five studies that followed 76,000 participants found that vegetarians were less likely to die from heart disease by about 25%.
Where cancer is concerned, several studies have also pointed to the benefits of eating a lot of fruits and vegetables at decreasing cancer risks.
Vegetarians and vegans also tend to have fewer substances in their colons that may be carcinogenic; and a vegan diet makes it easier for people to meet the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Type 2 diabetes
Finally, eating mostly-plants has been known to have a positive effect on decreasing risks for diabetes.
For instance, a study involving Seventh-day Adventists – where about 40% of members are vegetarians – the risk for vegetarians to develop diabetes is lowered by half, compared to non-vegetarians.
All these and more can explain why, according to a poll commissioned by the nonprofit organization Vegetarian Resource Group, there are about six to eight million adults in the United States who do not eat fish, poultry, or meat.
If you hope to add to that number and cash in on the benefits that veganism can promise, will it be a good idea if you’re over 50 years old?
Here are some of the most important considerations that you should think about.
Meeting Special Dietary Needs
For some of us who are over 50, there are special dietary recommendations that must be followed.
Some, for instance, need to go on a soft, pureed, or liquid food diet; while others have appetites that need to be stimulated.
The good thing is adopting a vegan lifestyle accords one with a multitude of ways to meet dietary needs.
If you need to go on a soft or pureed diet, for example, there are several sources of protein that you can mash, grate, puree, or grind into fitting your dietary requirements.
These include pulses like peas, beans, tofu, and lentils, as well as mock meats, grains, and nuts.
If you need a little help in stimulating your appetite, adding maple, vanilla, or almond extracts to glazed vegetables and fruit salads can radically enhance the flavor of the food.
There are also dry rubs that you can add to tofu or hydrated texturized vegetable protein to give them a more enticing taste.
Additionally, you can build on the flavor of sharp-tasting vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower with vegan dressings and creams.
Meeting Recommended Nutrients Needs
Another special consideration that merits attention for older people who want to adopt a vegan lifestyle is ensuring that all nutrient recommendations are met.
Infection-fighting foods, for instance, may be necessary for some older adults.
Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle while meeting the required nutrient specifications for dealing with infection means ingesting more of zinc, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.
To this end, consume more of pulses and green vegetables (zinc), whole grains, nuts, soya beans, and bananas (vitamin B6), as well as plant oils and wheatgerm found in cereals and cereal products (vitamin E).
Additionally, if you have nutrient deficiencies, it is important to eat more of fruits and vegetables that can help you correct deficiencies.
A lack of vitamin C, for example, can be countered by choosing to eat more of citrus fruits, green vegetables, tomatoes, and peppers.
If you need more folate in your body, have more of wholegrain cereals, nuts, and oranges.
Benefits of Veganism for Older Adults
A 2012 poll by The Vegetarian Resource Group found that about three percent of adults aged 55 and above are vegans or vegetarians.
And multiple studies have confirmed that they may be healthier than their meat-eating counterparts, in many respects.
For instance, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published a position paper in 2009 that asserted that properly-planned vegetarian and vegan diets provide sufficient nutrients and health benefits that may help in the treatment of certain diseases throughout all life stages.
A plant-based nutrition expert and advisor also said, “In terms of heart health, vegan diets are free of cholesterol. Depending on food choices, vegan and vegetarian diets can be low in saturated fats.”
Calorie needs for older people also decrease over time, which makes moving to nutrient-dense diets easier.
The inclusion of more vegetables and fruits to meals enables senior people to meet their nutrient needs without feeling deprived.
To ensure that you can cash in on the benefits of a vegan lifestyle at your age, however, there are a few key reminders that should be considered.
Two of the most important of these are the following:
Make sure to enlist the guidance of a medical professional
Your physician should be properly apprised of your intention to go vegan, along with other necessary members of your medical team.
Before attempting to transition into the lifestyle, make sure that you sit down and talk about it with the professionals who can help you ensure your health and safety, every step of the way.
If there are concerns or special considerations that you want to bring up, let your doctors know.
Have routine checkups to assess your health and nutrition
Finally, stay on top of your health condition by coming in for routine assessments.
This will not only set your mind at ease, it will also be critical to making any necessary modifications safely.
For example, if certain vegetables are not proving to be effective at meeting some of your dietary or nutritional needs, your doctor can properly chart out a different course that may be more beneficial.