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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vegetarians live longer, healthier lives!

Compared to people who eat meat daily, vegetarians can look forward to a longer and healthier life.  In fact, vegetarians live about 7 years longer, and and those on a strict vegan diet with no animal products live about 15 years longer than meat eaters according to a study from Loma Linda University.

Red and processed meat intakes are associated with an increase in risk of cancer mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and an overall increase in total mortality in both men and women, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine

Important factors that are linked to a longer life expectancy are elimination of “bad” fats and the inclusion of a multitude of antioxidants to the diet. Vegetarians also tend to have lower BMI values (body mass index) which add years to life expectancy.  It is important to note that a healthy vegetarian diet would include more than 60% whole fruits and vegetables.

The leading cause of premature death in the U.S. is heart disease. This is associated with the consumption of animal fats, particularly from red meat. In reality, heart disease would be more aptly named “artery” disease, because it is the buildup of plaque in the arteries that ultimately leads to the demise of the heart. This is a condition that can actually be reversed or cured with adherence to a strict vegan diet. (Read more on the link between animal fat and heart disease.)

Another leading cause of premature death is cancer of all types, to include prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers. Numerous clinical studies have shown that vegetarians are far less likely to develop cancer of any type, but especially the types mentioned above.  You can find more info on the cancer-diet connection here.

Finally, obesity has become an epidemic and contributes substantially to a shortened lifespan. A healthy diet that consists mostly of vegetables and fruits will fill you up with substantially fewer calories than a diet high in animal fats and protein. Fewer calories translate to less or no weight gain and longer life expectancy.  The connection between meat consumption and obesity has been highlighted in numerous studies.

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