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Tuesday, 04 June 2013 21:47

Vegetarian diet may reduce risk of early death

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Vegetarians rejoice: Cutting meat out of your diet may have lowered your risk of an untimely death.

vegetarian_dietA new study of more than 70,000 people showed that vegetarian diets were linked to lower death rates when compared to meat-eaters. The research was published on June 3 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

"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," lead author Dr. Michael Orlich, program director of the preventative medicine residency at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, Calif., said to Reuters.

Vegetarian diets have previously been connected to lower risk for chronic diseases including hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and ischemic heart disease, the authors noted.

The results were more pronounced in male subjects than in women. Vegetarian men had lower reductions in heart disease mortality and death from ischemic heart disease -- when blood flow is reduced to the heart -- compared to non-vegetarian men. Women however did not have any significant risk reductions in these categories.

However, it may not be the vegetables themselves that are fueling longevity. Vegetarians tended to be older, more highly educated, less likely to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, exercised more and were thinner as well.

Nancy Copperman, a dietician at North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. , told HealthDay that the increased fiber in their diets may be boosting vegetarians' health.

"It's not just fruit and vegetables, but all types of fiber [including whole grains] that seems to really reduce health risks," she said. "The new study pushes the literature that we are building about the impact that whole grains and fruits and vegetables can have on your health.

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Read 3252 times Last modified on Tuesday, 04 June 2013 21:57

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