Six year study of over 70,000 shows longevity and lower hypertension in vegetarians.
A study of more than 70,000 people that spanned six years, found that vegetarians, especially men, live longer because of their diet and lower blood pressure.
They found a cut in death rates for people eating vegetarian diets compared with non-vegetarians in a study of 73,308 men and women Seventh-day Adventists.
Dr Michael Orlich and colleagues at Loma Linda University in California, who conducted the study (published by JAMA Internal Medicine), found that vegetarians were 12 percent less likely to die from any cause. The main reason is thought to be the effect of a low-fat vegetarian diet on cholesterol and blood pressure, partly through avoidance of red meat and also from higher consumption of vegetables, whole grains and fruit.
Besides high blood pressure, vegetarian diets have also been linked to lower risk for several other chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease.
Previous studies have shown that red meat, especially processed meat, contains ingredients that have been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer. These include heme iron (chemical compound most commonly recognized in their presence as components of the red pigment in blood) saturated fat, sodium, nitrites, and certain carcinogens that are formed during cooking. Eating more vegetables and fruit may also help through their antioxidant effects, combating harmful naturally occurring chemicals in the body.
The Loma study found that Adventists who were not vegetarian, did not exercise regularly, did not eat nuts frequently, who were past smokers, and who had a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25.9 (men) or 25.2 (women) lost 9 to 10 years of life, as compared to Adventists who were vegetarian, exercised regularly, ate nuts five or more times a week, were not past smokers, and who had BMI less than 25.9 (men) or 25.2 (women).
An estimated three million British people, around five percent, are vegetarian and never eat meat or fish. Recent findings from the largest UK study of 45,000 people found that vegetarians have lower rates of cancer and significantly lower (32 percent less) rates of heart disease ― the major causes of death in the UK. They were also one-third less likely to need hospital treatment for heart disease or die from it.