Friday, 28 February, 2020


Vegetarian and pescetarian diets linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease

The study found that vegans and vegetarians had a 20% higher risk of having a stroke than meat-eaters The study found that vegans and vegetarians had a 20% higher risk of having a stroke than meat-eaters
Patty Aguilar | 06 September, 2019, 16:44

While vegetarians had a 22 percent lower risk for heart disease, they had a 20 percent higher risk for stroke, British researchers found. They showed a lower risk of heart disease than meat eaters, but without the higher stroke risk associated with plant-based diets.

Among the participants were more than 24,000 meat eaters, about 7,500 pescatarians and more than 16,000 vegetarians and vegans.

The new findings back up previous studies which have also suggested that vegetarians have a lower risk of CHD than meat-eaters, however there is little data from large studies and few have looked into the risk of stroke.

The participants were asked about their diets and lifestyle throughout the years, and their habits such as smoking and drinking were also recorded.

The researchers noted there are 1.7 million vegans and vegetarians living in the United Kingdom and non-meat diets are becoming increasingly popular in part due to the perceived health benefits and concerns about the environment and animal welfare.

However, vegetarians and vegans went through an escalated probability of stroke than meat-eaters especially hemorrhagic stroke which the researcher indicates may mirror low blood levels of entire cholesterol or intake deficient in certain vitamins.

Data from more than 48,000 adults with no history of heart disease or stroke, all of whom signed up to a wider study running from 1993 and 2001, were analysed.

"Shifting towards a plant-based diet can have personal and planetary health benefits, though it does not necessarily mean becoming a vegetarian", he said.

Study authors said further investigation is needed before changing diet guidelines.

The results about stroke may be surprising, given the years of research that have encouraged people to limit consumption of meat, particularly red and processed varieties.

For the study, researchers from Oxford University looked at the dietary habits and health of 48,188 adult men and women in the United Kingdom over the course of 18 years. This was mostly due to higher reported cases of haemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by bleeding in or around the brain.

The lower incidence of heart disease in these groups could be linked to the generally lower rates of obesity and overweight, as well as lower average blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes mellitus, all of which are known risk factors for both heart disease and stroke.

People who avoided meat but ate fish, however, had a lower risk of heart disease without increasing their risk for stroke. In most of the low-income countries, it remains to seen if the results are applicable, since most of the people follow a vegetarian diet. They explained that low blood levels of total cholesterol among vegetarians and vegans could also be a factor.

On a whole, going for a plant-based diet has numerous health benefits, but some amount of meat can also be beneficial.

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