Veggies Boost Longevity
Exerting a beneficial effect on blood pressure, a diet rich in vegetables may extend life expectancy by nine years or more.
With lower saturated fats and completely cholesterol-free, abundant dietary fiber, and phytochemicals (including polyphenol antioxidants), a diet rich in vegetables has been shown by a variety of studies to beneficially impact type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as potentially reduce the risks of cancer. Gary E. Fraser, from Loma Linda University (California), and colleagues lead the Adventist Health Study-2, involving 96,000 US and Canadian citizens – including thousands of Seventh-day Adventists (who follow a vegetarian diet). The researchers report that vegans are, on average, 13 kg lighter than meat eaters and five units lighter on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale, as compared to meat-eaters. As well, the team reveals that vegetarian men live an average of 9.5 years longer, and women an average of 6.1 years longer, than meat-eating counterparts. A potential factor in this longevity is the beneficial effect that the vegetarian diet exerts on blood pressure. Studying a subgroup of 500 subjects of the Adventist Health Study-2 population, the researchers observed that: “vegetarians, especially vegans, do have lower systolic and diastolic BP and less hypertension.”
Pettersen BJ, Anousheh R, Fan J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fraser GE. “Vegetarian diets and blood pressure among white subjects: results from the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2).” Public Health Nutr. 2012 Oct;15(10).