Do vegetarian diets improve health? Are they the key to a long life?
Millions of people call themselves vegetarians. And meat-free options are becoming more readily available in hospitals and restaurants alike. But the big question is: Do vegetarian diets improve health? Are they the key to a long life?
The answer is yes … at least according to a recent study from Loma Linda University in California. The study found that eating a vegetarian diet may be associated with living longer. In fact, researchers found that vegetarians had a 12 percent lower risk of death compared with non-vegetarians.
“Vegetarian dietary patterns have been associated with reductions in risk for several chronic diseases, such as hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes … and heart disease, which might be expected to result in lower mortality,” the researchers reported.
Men, in particular, benefited from a plant-based diet. The association between vegetarian diets and lower mortality was greater in men than in women. Men had a lower rate of heart disease and death from heart-related conditions, whereas women saw no reduced risk.
Michael Orlich, M.D., the study’s lead author, said, “I think this adds to the evidence showing the possible beneficial effect of vegetarian diets in the prevention of chronic diseases and the improvement of longevity.”
This doesn’t mean everyone should go meat-free. But if you want to become a vegetarian, the research suggests it may have beneficial outcomes.