Vegetarians were found to have a lower risk of death from any cause and males saw benefits for cardiovascular health.

“Vegetarian dietary patterns have been associated with reductions in risk for several chronic diseases, such as hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, and ischemic heart disease, which might be expected to result in lower mortality,” Dr. Michael J. Orlich and colleagues from Loma Linda University in California reported online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Women, unfortunately, were shown to have no significant reduction in deaths from cardiovascular or ischemic heart disease, in which there is an inadequate supply of blood to the heart muscle.

Both male and female pesco-vegetarians, people who eat fish, also showed lower risks of mortality from any cause, and such males suffered less cardiovascular disease.

“Vegetarian diets have been associated with more favorable levels of of cardiovascular risk factors, and nutrient profiles of the vegetarian dietary patterns suggest possible reasons for reduced cardiovascular risk, such as lower saturated fat and higher fiber consumption,” the researchers continued.

There were no clear reductions in incidences of cancer, however.

“The heterogeneous nature of cancer may obscure specific diet-cancer associations in analyses of combined cancer mortality, and lack of significance may reflect insufficient power to detect weaker associations at early follow-up,” Orlich and colleagues explained.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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