By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
A record 400,000 people worldwide signed up for the Veganuary movement this year, the campaign has revealed. Since 2014, the UK-based group has asked people to pledge to eat a vegan diet for the month of January. It said the latest figure compares with 250,000 participants in 2019 and 170,000 in 2018. Veganuary participants were from every country in the world except three. In addition, many more people are thought to have taken part in the event without signing the official pledge, and many are expected to continue with plant-based diets beyond January.
Not only are so many people feeling better following a plant-based diet — but they’re sleeping better too.
That’s because fatty foods are harder to digest, so they keep the body too busy to sleep. Fatty cuts of meat and high-fat dairy products, such as butter and cheese, can disrupt your sleep – especially if consumed in excess or three hours before bed
Plant-based foods are far easier for your digestive system to process which means that you’re less likely to be disturbed by bloating, constipation or a sudden urge to rush to the toilet. In fact, when done properly, a vegan diet contains good amount of fibrous fruits, veg and leafy greens which means that your bowels are more likely to work regularly. This healthy intake of fibre also helps to keep your blood glucose level balanced, a big benefit when it comes to getting a good night of sleep
A new 2020 study found that processed meat and animal-based foods can worsen sleeping conditions like obstructive sleep apnoea, a disorder in which your breathing stops for moments during your sleep.
Following a vegan diet, almonds contain magnesium, which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation and they have the added benefit of supplying proteins that can help maintain stable blood sugar levels while sleeping (which means that you won’t wake up during the night). Vegetables such as spinach, kale and chard and herbs like parsley, mint and coriander are excellent for improving the body’s response to stress and helping internal systems to function optimally. They’re sources of various vitamins (A, C, E and K) and minerals like calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium. Magnesium helps to keep our nerves and muscles relaxed. Even Sweet potatoes can help calm your nerves and eliminate stress. They are high in potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and is known to help relax muscles, calm the nerves and balance cognitive function.
If you were part of Veganuary — keep going! The more you commit, the more you will be rewarded and notice positive change. As always, let me know your vegan journey questions by contacting me on Instagram.
The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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