Introduction

If you’ve been Vegan for a fair amount of time, you will find that you’re more chilled.

You will find that you’re more calm and your mind is settled.

Dare I say that you feel happier than you used to feel – I know that’s certainly the case for me.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that I think bears closely inspection, because after all, every single one of us wants to be a little happier.

When I was working for major health insurance company I tried to get a Vegan Health Insurance product introduced. That specific endeavor failed but I learned a lot in the process.

I needed to specifically learn about which blood markers can be used to identify a Vegan. Through this research I also inadvertently learned much about how food makes you happier.

The vast majority of the information came from Dr Gregors outstanding work and I strongly suggest you have a look at that.

How plants affect Mood

Chronic inflammation

Animal products contain Endotoxins which cause inflammation.

Given our modern societies excessive meat consumption this leads to chronic inflammation – and higher levels of it can be found in people with depression. The raised C-Reactive proteins found in the blood of depressed indicate this quite clearly.

If the arteries in the brain are getting stressed in this way, it’s reasonable to see why people would feel worse and more depressed.

On the flip side, Plant Based Whole Foods diets have significant amounts of antioxidants which reduce inflammation. Anti oxidants are only found in plants which is why it’s a great idea to have more fruits and vegetables.

The Reds

Higher carotenoid levels in the blood also reduce depression leading to higher levels of well being.

Lycopene happens to be the most powerful carotenoid and this is found in tomatoes, watermelon, guavas, papaya, pink grapefruit.

The Greens

Likewise higher folate levels reduce depression. In fact, it has been found that a lack of dietary intake of folate maybe a risk factor for severe depression of up to three times.

Plants that have high levels of folate include:

  • cruciferous  vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts)
  • leafy green vegetables(spinach)
  • asparagus, avocado
  • dried legumes(lentils and chickpeas)

The Mood

Higher levels of monoamine-oxidase in the brain can destroy the feel-good monoamine hormones like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

However dietary inhibitors of monoamine-oxidase like apples, berries, and grapes, kale, onions, green tea, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves can increase the abundance of the feel good hormones making you feel a whole lot better.

How Plant Based Whole Foods affect Physiology

There’s actually way too many benefits as to how physiological plants chill you out, so I’ll just mentions a few for this post.

First off dropping the consumption of meat means that you get no external bad cholesterol that could coat your arteries. The minute you get plaque on your arteries then your blood pressure in your body and your brain increases.

Plants can significantly reduce your blood pressure making your feel more chilled. That’s mean you’re less prone to blowing your top off in an argument – you can let things go and just walk away. Don’t Worry be Happy!

Foods that lower blood pressure are :

  • Spinach – lowers blood pressure and improves measures of arterial stiffness.
  • Flax seeds – lowers diastolic, systolic blood pressure and hypertension
  • Hibiscus tea 
  • Beetroot

Lifestyle

It’s hardly surprising that most Vegans are open to activities like Yoga and Meditation. It seems to be part and parcel of the culture.

Underlying Veganism are principles of non violence and ahimsa. Yoga and Meditation are practices that embody these principles.

This approach to finding harmony through movement and stillness is what increases the chances of the Vegan being happier.

A search for inner peace will most likely yield it.

Vagus Nerve

I love talking about the vagus nerve because it’s fascinating.

It’s interesting to note that regularly eating a wide variety of beans slows down the heartbeat making you feel more relaxed. This in turn slows your breathing. Active meditation does this too.

And’s here is the really cool thing. When you slowly breath out, your vagus nerve calms down.

This nerve is know as the mind-body connection because it’s an intricate system that run from the brain to the heart to the guts. When this nerve is chilled, then you automatically feel at ease and happier.

Optimism

Despite all the craziness that’s happening, I’ve also found that Vegans tend to be more optimistic. Sure things are particularly strange right now, but we know that things will get better.

We know the the future hold brighter days – that things will be more equitable for animals and people alike.

I think this optimism keeps us feeling happier.

There’s no science to back this claim up, but this I’ll take on faith and personal experience.

Conclusion

We all want to be a little happier. And there are simple ways to achieve this.

As a Vegan I’ve found that knowingly abstaining from violence makes you feel at ease – but I’ve also found that plants themselves are indeed medicine for the body, mind and soul.

The science now clearly backs up this up.

Plants can make you feel happier.

Whether you’re experiencing a lush green forest or eating a delicious green salad – your happiness and well being will be enhanced.

Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash