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Does Being Vegan Make You More Chill?

Some vegan dieters have the perception of being more chill or laid back, and you might be wondering if science backs up this way of thinking.

You may think of vegans as suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or aggression less than the average human being. But is there validity to this? The answer might shock you.

Does Vegan Dieting Affect Mood?

Studies are mixed as to whether or not vegan dieting negatively or positively impacts mood and mood disorders. A 2015 study published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that eliminating animal foods from the diet is associated with improved mood in adult men and women. For example, anxiety was lower in vegan dieters compared with non-vegan dieters in men, and stress levels were lower in women who followed vegan diets compared with non-vegan females.

Harvard Health Publications says there is a correlation between diets high in refined sugar and symptoms of mood disorders (like anxiety and depression). So, if you’re following a vegan diet low in added sugar you might be able to reap mental health benefits of a happier mood.

Plant-based diets are also associated with lower body weights, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight could mean feeling healthier and happier — and improvements in self esteem.

However, other studies have linked vegetarian dieting with poorer mental health status. A 2012 issue of Psychology Today says several studies link plant-based diets with better moods and mental health status, but others (though these studies have limitations such as small sample sizes) found that vegetarianism is associated with higher rates of anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Does Vegan Dieting Make You More Chill?

Chances are, if you have a more “chill” laid back personality it’s not because of your diet. Genetic makeup and the environment you live in affects personality traits — and can affect your food preferences. But because vegan dieting lowers your risks for chronic diseases, helps maintain a healthy weight (especially when eaten as part of a diet low in added sugar), and may lower your risk for depression and anxiety, it’s very possible vegan dieting can help improve your mood. But, whether or not you have a “chill,” personality is likely due to simply the way you’re wired (a combination of genetics and environment).

[Image via Shutterstock]

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