A new study conducted by Dr. Michael Orlich of Loma Linda University in California is shedding more positive light on the benefits of switching to a vegetarian diet.
A truly vegetarian diet is one that avoids all products that come from animals, even eggs and milk. A vegetarian diet consists primarily of grains, nuts, beans, herbs, legumes, berries, vegetables, and fruits. According to a 2012 Gallup poll, only 5 percent of American’s eat this way. Others eat similar diets. Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy and eggs but not fish and meat. Pesco-vegetarians do eat fish.
At least 12 percent drop in mortality for those on vegetarian diet
According to Dr. Orlich’s study, people who eat the vegetarian way are less likely to die over any particular period of time. This proves that vegetables, herbs, fruits, nuts, and berries are more than food; they are valuable medicine, nourishing the cells of the human body, allowing for optimal function.
Dr. Orlich points out, “I think this adds to the evidence showing the possible beneficial effect of vegetarian diets in the prevention of chronic diseases and the improvement of longevity.”
Orlich’s study revolved around data from over 73,000 random volunteers from Seventh day Adventist churches between 2002 and 2007. He and his team of researchers analyzed the data at the end of 2009, comparing death rates of all the participants.
All participants were questioned about their eating habits before the study began. They were lumped into general categories, based on their eating habits. They listed how often they ate dairy, eggs, fish and meat.
Of the participants, only 8 percent were strictly vegan. These people don’t eat or use any animal products at all.
Twenty-nine percent were classified as lacto-vegetarians, or people who didn’t eat fish and meat, but did eat dairy and eggs. Fifteen percent occasionally ate fish and other meats. The rest were meat eaters.
At the end of a seven-year period, the researchers used their database of participants to see who was living and who had passed away.
They found that seven of every 1,000 meat eaters on average passed away each year.
Of the vegetarians, about five of every 1,000 passed away each year.
The vegetarians generally had a 25 percent lower death rate compared to meat eaters, and after controllable health variables were figured in like age, race, and exercise habits, the researchers concluded that a vegetarian diet brought down the groups mortality rate altogether by 12 percent. They also found out that men benefited the most from a vegetarian diet.
Orlich explained, pointing out that red and processed meat consumption leads to higher mortality rates, “cutting out meat could be the cause. It’s also possible that eating more plant foods like fruits and vegetables provides the death-defying benefits.”
It’s about more than just living and dying
Eating a vegetarian diet shouldn’t be just about avoiding death. Death comes to everyone. In the study though, a vegetarian diet delayed death significantly, compared to those who ate meat. This is great, but just basing diets on a matter of life and death isn’t fully appreciating all the benefits of a vegetarian-based diet. Living a life of quality is the most important aspect of eating a raw plant-based diet. Ten years of quality living trumps 20 years of pain. A vegetarian lifestyle is one with more energy, less pain, quality sleep, and a stable metabolism.
Alice Lichtenstein, direction of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory in Boston observed the vegetarian participants and believes they living a much healthier more quality life than the others.
Lichtenstein said, “It’s important to note that the vegetarians in this study were more highly educated, less likely to smoke, exercised more and were thinner.”
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