(HealthDay News) — Eating a diet that is mostly plant-based can lower cardiovascular (CV) mortality by up to 20%, compared with eating a diet that is over 50% meat, dairy, egg and fish, according to a new study.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2015 Scientific Sessions in Baltimore.
The findings are based on 451,256 adults aged 35 to 70 years who took part in a European study on nutrition and cancer risk. At the outset, they gave detailed information on their diets and lifestyle. Over the next 13 years, 5,083 died from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Camille Lassale, PhD, of the Imperial College London School of Public Health, and colleagues looked at the study participants’ diet information and gave each person a score based on how “pro-vegetarian” their eating pattern was.
Those whose diets were about 70% plant-based — meaning whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruit and nuts — had a relatively lower risk for dying from CVD. In addition, the researchers found that people with a “high” score were 20% less likely to die of CVD than those with the lowest scores.
Lassale told HealthDay that her team accounted for some other potential explanations, such as people’s weight, exercise habits, and education levels. But it’s still difficult to pinpoint these “semi-vegetarian” diets as the reason for the lower rates of CVD mortality.
- Lassale C et al. Abstract 16. Presented at: American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2015 Scientific Sessions; March 3-6, 2015; Baltimore.