As the concept of veganism keeps gaining momentum, we keep learning something new about this lifestyle constantly. However, at this point, most people’s knowledge about it is still at the stage “oh well, I guess it is good for you” but do we really know about the full potential of going vegan? Probably not.
The vegan diet is associated with better gut and overall health. Specialists also link it with lower cancer and other diseases risks. Additionally, there is quite a lot of chit chat going on claiming that going vegan can also boost one’s brain health and even increase thinking capacity of your brain. Is it really true and how to make the most of it if you decide to switch to the vegan diet? In this article, we are going to give you the answers you are looking for!
Does the Vegan Diet Influence Your Cognitive Function?
To begin with, let’s see a brief definition of cognitive skills. In a nutshell, a so-called cognitive ability stands for the brain’s ability to function properly. The set of cognitive skills includes the following abilities:
- Attention (including selective, divided, and sustained);
- Memory (both short and long-term);
- Logic and reasoning;
- Processing information (including visual and auditory);
- Speed of processing.
Each of you uses these skills every day at college, work, and everyday life as well.
For example, when you attend a lecture and receive loads of new information – that’s when your cognitive function steps in to help you process and remember it. When you are writing a college paper, you are also using your cognitive skills. Respectively, when you feel unable to cope with the given assignment and start looking for ways to pay to do my assignment for cheap – that’s when you experience a shortage of those vital skills. That’s when a vegan diet can really help you out!
Now as you know what cognitive skills are in a nutshell, let’s look at some of the most significant advantages of going vegan that can really help you boost those skills:
1. Healthy Nutrients
It is not a secret that plant-based foods are rich in healthy nutrients and vitamins. While it may seem that switching to the vegan diet you may be lacking some basic elements, in fact, there are vegan alternatives to pretty much every nutrient. And these alternatives are generally considered to be healthier and cleaner than animal-based sources of the same nutrients.
However, there are also some risks associated with vegetarianism. In particular, there are two vital elements you may be lacking when going vegan – it is the Vitamin B12 and iron. Both elements are known for having a significant impact on one’s brain function, so getting enough of them is the key to developing strong cognitive skills.
With that in mind, it is crucial that you add supplements of these nutrients to your diet. The good news is that using supplements can actually have better results than consuming those elements with foods. For example, one study conducted in 2007 revealed that people who were given iron supplements on a regular basis had significant intellectual gains.
You may already know this, but it is still worth reminding that to function well our brain needs not only to get the right nutrients but also to stay in the right condition. The “right condition” for your brain is when it is well-rested, full of energy, and most importantly – remains in a good state of being (read mood).
This brings us to one more benefit of a plant-based diet for students. There is research that found that this type of diet can significantly improve your mood, boost general wellbeing, and even help relieve stress. How does this affect one’s cognitive skills, you may ask? Well, when you remain in a good mood and experience less stress, your brain can get more focused and function properly as it is less prone to distraction.
But wait, there is more! An additional advantage of going vegan is that your mood does not only improve, it actually stays more invariable. When switching to the vegan diet, you start consistently making the right and more constant food choices. Thus, your body remains free of toxins as you eat cleaner and remains in a good state of being at all time.
Sticking to the topic of the right state of being that promotes a better brain function, it is worth speaking of another benefit of the vegan diet – better sleep. Going vegan, you start consuming foods that contain plenty of healthy nutrients that make you generally feel better. Such foods are packed with elements like tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin. In a complex, these elements are vital for high-quality sleep.
As you start sleeping better, your energy levels remain high throughout the day, which stimulates your cognitive abilities.
Coming back to energy, it won’t be a revelation to say that when your energy levels are low, so is your brain’s function, and, respectively, your cognitive function will suffer. Since this type of diet is associated with better sleep, it also implies higher energy levels.
Apart from better sleep, there is one more point that proves that one can boost his energy levels by going vegan. The thing is that it takes lots of energy to digest animal proteins and fats, whereas some alternative vegan sources of the same nutrients, such as nuts, quinoa, legumes, and whole grains provide you with much more energy and don’t take so much energy to digest.
Having higher energy levels, in its turn, makes you more concentrated, at the same time, keeping your brain brighter and better functioning.
5. Long-Term Impact
Last but not least, the crucial benefit of being vegan is that it can have a positive long-term impact on your brain. One of the recent studies found that diet rich in plant-based products and low (or free of) animal foods leads to a much lower risk of developing cognitive impairment in the future. This finding clearly indicates the tight relation between the food choices we make and our cognitive ability.
Student’s Complete Guide to the Vegan Diet
So, as you now know, going vegan is a brand new trend that keeps spreading all across the globe. More and more people opt for a new type of diet either for environmental, health, or plain ethical reasons. Regardless of one’s objectives, the facts and numbers clearly show that when done right, the vegan diet can really bring some significant health benefits. But, where to start and how to get things right?
To begin with, it is fair to say that there is a faulty belief that being vegan, just like eating clean and healthy, is super expensive. As a student, you may be a bit over-concerned with this one, which is totally fine. However, let us reassure you that going vegan is actually cheaper and less stressful than some people believe. This guide below is created to introduce you to the basics of the vegan diet and give some clues on how to make this transition without going bankrupt:
- Getting Started
When deciding to go vegan, one of the key questions you may have is “where to start?” First of all, you should familiarize yourself with different types of vegan diets and kinds of foods that will be available for you.
Here are the three basic types of diets you may consider:
- Whole-food vegan diet;
- Raw-food vegan diet;
- 80/10/10 diet.
Of course, there are more solutions, but you can start with these ones.
- Taking It Slow
In case you are wondering whether it is possible to go vegan overnight – it is possible. However, it may not be the right approach for everyone. We recommend taking it slow, without the unnecessary rush. For example, you can start with replacing one of your daily meals with a vegan alternative and stick to it for a week or so. This will help you get the idea of whether this type of diet actually suits you or not and will help make a smoother transition if you decide to carry on.
- Cook Your Own Meals
If you are wondering if veganism is expensive, the answer is no, it is not. As long as you make the right food choices and cook your own meals instead of dining in fancy restaurants, it won’t hit your budget hard. Thus, be sure to get familiar with some nice vegan recipes and take it from there.
- Inform Your Loved Ones
Finally, an important part of the process is letting your nonvegan family members and friends know about your decision. Unfortunately, some of your loved ones may be less supportive than you’d think. However, it is important to understand that most resistance in this matter comes from a poor understanding. Thus, be sure to do your research and educate the people who surround you.
- The Bottom Line
As the popularity of the vegan lifestyle keeps snowballing, the amount of known benefits it can have on one’s brain and body also grows. Due to its popularity, more and more studies are being conducted on this matter, which allows us to explore all its direct and indirect benefits further.
Although this type of diet seemingly cuts out some vital nutrients, as you now know, supplementing them with non-animal, natural alternatives can really make a difference. And whilst the full range of benefits is still not clear, there is one thing we can say for sure – going vegan can boost your overall health and, thus, improve your cognitive functions as well.
Hopefully, this article gave you a comprehensive insight into the benefits of such a diet and its basics! Follow the tips and suggestions we discussed to change your life without pushing it too hard or spending a whole fortune!