Another great reason to eat your veggies: A large-scale study conducted by the University of Oxford shows that vegetarians are 32 percent less likely to die or be hospitalized because of heart disease.
The longitudinal study, conducted by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford, followed nearly 45,000 volunteers from England and Scotland from the 1990s to 2009. Subjects completed baseline questionnaires regarding diet, exercise, and other factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Almost 20,000 participants also had their blood pressures recorded and cholesterol tested.
In addition to the large sample size, the study was unique because an unprecedented 34% of the participants identified as vegetarian. Such a significant representation of veg folk is extremely rare in studies of this type and scale, and enabled researchers to make more precise estimates of the relative risks between vegetarians and meat-eaters.
The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, support what other large-scale studies, such as The China Study, have professed all along: Whole foods, plant-based diets effectively ward-off and, in some instances, reverse disease.
Professor Tim Key, co-author of the study and deputy director of the Oxford Cancer Epidemiology Unit, said, “The results clearly show that the risk of heart disease in vegetarians is about a third lower than in comparable non-vegetarians.” Study vegetarians also had lower blood pressures, cholesterol levels, body mass indices (BMI), and fewer cases of diabetes.
These exciting results further reinforce the philosophy that a vegetarian diet can be a key to the prevention of heart disease and other illnesses, as well as a longer life. For support in transitioning to a plant-based diet, visit here.
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