Today, more and more people are switching to a vegan diet. In the past few years, there has been a nearly 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the US. So why are people so interested in this movement? Having a plant-based diet is clearly beneficial for people, animals, and even the planet. Here are some of the reasons you should consider the switch.

1. We Don't Need Animal Products

According to the American Dietetic Association, people do not need animal products to get all the key nutrients in their diet. The only nutrient that is not reliably found in plants is vitamin B12. But there's no need to worry. This can easily be consumed in fortified foods. They believe a vegan diet is suitable for any life stage from infancy to pregnancy, as long as it is well balanced. And they're not the only ones. There is plenty of scientific evidence that refutes the "people need meat" argument. 

2. It's Better For Your Heart

Adopting a plant-based diet and avoiding animal products has been shown to slow or even reverse heart disease. The main problem that results in heart disease, is plaque clogging the arteries. Some studies suggest that adopting a vegan diet can shrink the plaque in your arteries. 

3. Animals Are Sentient Beings Too 

There's no question as to whether farm animals are sentient beings or not. Cows have friends, and without time to socialize have been shown to exhibit signs of loneliness. They show signs of pain and sadness when separated from their calves. And they're not the only ones. Pigs also develop strong bonds with other animals. Even if you argue that there are some farms that treat their animals humanely, the killing of these animals isn't humane. It's unnecessary and harmful to ourselves and our planet. 

4. Help the Environment 

mint, herb, vegetable, relish, nature
Ellen Gibbs

Animal agriculture is an energy intensive process. The whole process of raising, killing, and then processing the meat requires a lot of energy. Producing 1 calorie of meat uses 11 times the amount of fossil fuels that is required to produce 1 calorie of grain protein. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, animal agriculture is the largest source of methane emissions. Compared to carbon dioxide, methane gas is 25 times more efficient at trapping heat. Simply by cutting down on eating meat, you could reduce your carbon footprint and your impact on the environment. 

5. Improve Your Mood 

Switching to a plant-based diet has been shown to improve depression, anxiety, and even your productivity. The high level of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables have beneficial effects on your mental health. Carbohydrates like brown rice help regulate serotonin levels. Serotonin is important in controlling your mood. So why not make the switch to your happier, healthier self?

6. Help Feed the Hungry

Animal agriculture is a huge waste of resources. Fifty percent of grains are consumed by these animals worldwide. In the US alone, 70 percent of grains go to feeding livestock. This is a huge waste, especially considering that 13 pounds of grain are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. And what about all the water that is required to raise these animals? To produce one pound of beef, it takes roughly 1,857 gallons of water

Based on these facts, it just makes the most sense to switch to a vegan diet. By eating animal products, we are harming the environment, animals, as well as ourselves. It's simply the most sustainable diet at the moment. Even if you aren't fully sold on having a plant-based diet, try a few vegan recipes out. There are plenty of tasty dishes out there that aren't wasting our resources.