Vegetarians have been declaring their diet is healthier than a carnivorous one for decades, but since veganism has risen in popularity exponentially, for some reason more experts are sitting up and taking notice. The evidence for a plant-based diet being a particularly healthy one is stacking up and up, with one of the latest studies finding those who eat a lot of plant-based food may be 25 per cent less likely to die from any cause than those eating the fewest plant foods.
Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study – carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore – also found that people eating lots of plant-based foods had a 16 per cent reduced risk of having a cardiovascular condition (heart attack, stroke etc) and a 32 per cent lower risk of dying from a cardiovascular condition.
“Plant‐based diets, diets that emphasise higher intakes of plant foods and lower intakes of animal foods, are associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all‐cause mortality in a general US adult population,’ the researchers note.
It was a sizeable study too, involving more than 12,000 middle-aged participants (the study was based on data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities – ARIC – study that followed the participants between 1987 and 2016).
While the study cannot actually prove that a diet that doesn’t include many plant foods actually causes heart problems, it does suggest that, for whatever reason, eating more non-animal foods may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Just try to keep what you eat as unprocessed as possible, and watch out for salt levels (some veggie ready meals, for instance, are highly processed and contain loads of salt).