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When it comes to the choice of food, you will find people divided into two groups. While some people swear by the health benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet (personal preference, religious reasons or medical requirements), for the rest, nothing is more pleasurable than binging into various lip-smacking non-vegetarian cuisines and delicacies. It is indeed a Herculean task to choose a slightly better diet. A vegan, as well as a non-vegetarian diet, have their share of nutritive merits and demerits respectively. In this article, we will discuss some of the pros and cons of a vegan diet.

Merits of a Vegan Diet

1. Laden with antioxidants: The health benefits of antioxidants requires no special mention. Antioxidants play a pivotal role in protecting the body from the deleterious effects of the oxidative damage triggered by the free radicals, thereby doing your skin a world of good. Antioxidants (Lycopene) also takes care of the prostate health, heart (Flavonoids), eyes (Carotenoids, especially Beta-carotenoids). A vegan diet comprising of fruits (Berries, Oranges, Prunes, Plums, Cherries) vegetables (Spinach, Kale, Beetroots, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes), whole grains, legumes, is antioxidants served on a platter.

2. Keeps quite a few health problems and disorders at bay: The incidences of heart problems, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and related complications are on a mercurial rise worldwide. While the trigger can be a myriad of factors, switching to a vegan diet can bring about significant improvement. In fact, many people have benefitted with the dietary switch. As known to many, elevated levels of LDL or Low-Density Cholesterol (also known as the Bad Cholesterol) can spell doom leading to health disorders such as Hypertension, Heart problems and Diabetes (especially Type-II). Various studies suggest that a vegan diet plays a pivotal role in lowering down the level of LDL. It is for this reason that people with Type-II Diabetes, Hypertension or Heart problem are often advised to switch to a vegan diet.

3. The herbs and spices, namely garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric, are known for their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic properties and often helps to treat a varied range of ailments and disorders.

4. The most important factor that many activists and environmentalists stress upon is that a vegan diet is environmentally more sustainable and advantageous.

Demerits of a vegan diet

A Vegan Diet is not always a bed of roses. It has its downside as well.

1. A dip in the dietary vitamins and essential minerals: A vegan diet is often found to be lacking in the essential vitamins and minerals, namely Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, calcium, iron, folate, omega-3 fatty acids (salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids). These vitamins and minerals are essential for the functioning of the body. Thus, in the absence of these vitamins and minerals, a person is more likely to suffer from weakness, anemia, various bone disorders, loss of muscle tone and mass, constipation, to name a few.

2. Certain fruits and vegetable may provide the body with proteins but nothing as compared to the protein obtained from meat and dairy products.

3. On a lighter note, when it comes to a vegan diet, not all restaurants come up with a wide variety of options. In the case of official meetings and parties, the situation may get awkward (though not always).

There is no denying the fact that a vegan diet is indeed a healthy option, but only if you can overlook the demerits or come up with substitutes to make up for the lost nutrients. 

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