More on Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
A vegetarian diet may be especially helpful in preventing chronic disease
Vegetarians have the edge
Research has shown that vegetarians tend to have better health in terms of cholesterol levels and lifestyle habits compared with nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of some diseases such as diabetes and obesity. In this meta-analysis researchers reviewed the data from several studies of vegetarians, which included 124,706 participants, looking for links between a vegetarian diet and risk of death and cancer incidence.
Results showed that vegetarians had a 29% lower rate of death from ischemic heart disease (blockage in the arteries that carry blood to the heart) and 18% lower cancer incidence compared with nonvegetarians. Death from all causes was 9% lower in vegetarians compared with nonvegetarians.
The study authors point out that "High-fat diets are implicated in the onset of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity," and healthy vegetarian diets tend to be low in saturated fats. But they also caution that more research is needed to understand the full impact of a vegetarian diet on long-term health.
More on being a vegetarian
(Ann Nutr Metab 2012;60:233-40)
Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.