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Vegetarian Diet Benefits Include Longer Life, Healthier Heart, And Smaller Waistline

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New research presented at the Nutrition 2018 meeting revealed more reasons to become vegetarian, including lower mortality risk, reduced chances of developing heart diseases, and a lower body mass index. The quality of the plant-based food, however, is also important.  ( Jill Wellington | Pixabay )

New research revealed even more reasons to become vegetarian, with the findings presented at the Nutrition 2018 meeting in Boston showing the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

The research, however, also included that shifting to a vegetarian diet is not enough, as the quality of the food also matters.

The Benefits Of A Vegetarian Diet

Is it good to go vegetarian? The answer is yes, according to the research presented at the inaugural flagship meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.

According to the first study, which involved almost 6,000 participants in the Netherlands, people who consumed more plant-based protein compared to animal-derived protein showed decreased risk of developing coronary heart disease over a follow-up period of over 13 years.

Another study, this time involving 4,500 adults in Brazil, revealed that people who regularly ate more plant-based protein were almost 60 percent less likely to suffer from plaque building up in their heart's arteries compared to people who regularly ate more animal-derived protein.

A vegetarian diet was also linked to lower risk for diabetes and heart diseases, including a lower body mass index, abdominal fat, blood sugar, and cholesterol, and also smaller waistlines. The study involved South Asians living in the United States.

Vegetarian Food Quality

Shifting to a vegetarian diet, however, is not enough to fully enjoy its benefits. A study revealed that high-quality vegetarian food, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, resulted in lower weight gain compared to unhealthy plant-based food such as sweets, fries, and refined grains. The study involved over 125,000 adult subjects over a period of four years.

A separate study of nearly 30,000 adults in the United States, meanwhile, found that higher quality for the plant-based components of a diet resulted in a lower mortality risk of 30 percent, while higher quality for animal-based components had an insignificant effect on the mortality risk. The effect of better quality plant-based food was better seen for people suffering from chronic health conditions.

Food To Prevent Health Problems

Not everybody is capable of shifting into a vegetarian diet. Fortunately, there are other types of food to fight against disease.

Eggs, for example, helps lower the risk of diabetes, as they are a rich source of nutrients. In a study, participants who consumed one egg per day showed greater improvements in their fasting blood sugar levels and their insulin resistance. An egg a day may also lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

Meanwhile, pecans may help in reducing cardiometabolic risk factors, coffee may help prevent liver problems, and yogurt may lower the risk of colon cancer.

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