New reports show that a vegetarian diet may be linked to a decreased risk of death over time.
According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2012, only about 5% of Americans reported being vegetarians and a new study set out to discover if there are benefits that would encourage more people to become vegetarians.
Is a Vegetarian Diet Healthier?
Previous studies regarding the benefits of a vegetarian diet have provided conflicting arguments; research reported by Reuters Health in 2012 and 2013 presented findings that people whose diet consisted of primarily fruits and vegetables were less likely to die as a result of not only heart disease, but any other cause as well compared to those whose diets primarily consisted of meat. Studies from Europe in the same period, however, concluded that both vegetarians and meat eaters were at the same risks of death from chronic diseases.
In an effort to procure more concrete data to answer this question a new study was conducted by Loma Linda University in California. For this study, Dr. Michael Orlich and his colleagues collected data from research conducted between 2002 and 2007 that collected data from 73,308 individuals. Researchers then utilized a national database to find out how many of the participants had passed away by the last calendar day of 2009. What they found was that there were roughly 7 participants per 1,000 in the meat eater group that had passed away, whereas the numbers for vegetarians were 5 per 1,000 every year.
The study found that men in particular benefited from a plant-based diet. The researchers also found other health associations in the vegetarians outside of their diet, which included more exercise and a lower likelihood of smoking, which may be as much a contributing factor as their diet.
Should You Institute a Vegetarian Diet?
If you are interested in becoming a vegetarian or vegan then research seems to suggest to give it a try, but don’t expect it to significantly alter your overall health. Studies continue to show that it is not just one factor that will provide good health but many factors including diet, exercise, sleep, and not smoking. Within these areas you must find the solutions that work for you; what your diet should consist of, how often and how much you need to exercise, the amount of sleep you need to feel rested. So while becoming a vegetarian may be the right change for some, it may not be right for others.
Consider all aspects of your health before you make any significant changes.
By Michael Omidi