15:53 01 February 2013
Research suggests that switching to a vegetarian diet can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease.
The study, which involved 44,500 people from England and Scotland, showed that vegetarians were 32per cent less likely to die or require hospital treatment due to heart disease.
The researchers from Oxford University, led by Dr. Francesca Crowe and Professor Tim Key, found that vegetarians had lower levels of harmful cholesterol and blood pressure due to the lack of fatty foods in their diets. Other factors, such as body weight, also played a role.
Dr. Crowe said, as quoted in a report by The Telegraph: “Obviously a vegetarian diet is one way to have a low intake of saturated fat, but the main message here is that diet is a very important determinant of heart disease risk.”
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Of the 44,5000 volunteers, a third have been vegetarians for more than 11 years.
Within the duration of the study, however, the group saw 1,235 cases of heart diseases, which led to 169 deaths and 1,066 hospitalisations.
Vegetarian diets are naturally lower in saturated fats and higher in polyunsaturated fats. It also reduced salt intake. These, however, can also be achieved in a non-vegetarian but healthy and balanced diet.
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