Veganism: the diet for a longer life?
Vegan or vegetarian diets have been studied for a long time, both for their benefits and for the concerns they can cause in terms of nutrient deficiencies, and in recent years a new question has emerged: can they allow us to live longer?
People who follow these types of regimens tend to establish healthier habits, such as avoiding tobacco use, reducing alcohol consumption, and leading a more active life. This coupled with the fact that vegan or vegetarian diets include many more fruits, vegetables and less processed foods in general, make us wonder how they impact health and if they can lead us to have a longer life.
In studies done in the past, it has been observed that mortality rates are usually lower in people who follow vegan or vegetarian diets, since lifestyle and diet can reduce the risk of presenting different chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus II, avoid the formation of kidney stones, etc. In another study, it was observed that deaths from respiratory, digestive or ischemic heart disease could be reduced by up to 50%.
There are a number of factors that could explain the cause of these decreased mortality rates, such as lower cholesterol levels, lower prevalence of obesity, lower blood pressure and higher consumption of antioxidants, due to the high consumption of fruits and vegetables, and in some cases, as mentioned above, less consumption of harmful substances, such as alcohol and tobacco.
Likewise, it has been calculated, thanks to various studies, that increasing our total caloric intake by just 3% with plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes or nuts can reduce the risk of premature death by 5%. A very valuable number for a very simple action, right? And it gets even better, because if instead of adding 3% we substitute 3% of our intake of animal products for those of plant origin, the risk of mortality decreases by 10%! Now imagine the great impact that we can obtain by changing all our diets for sources of plant origin, such as a vegan lifestyle.
Although in some studies it is mentioned that there may be a greater risk of diseases such as anemia, especially in the case of veganism, these can be prevented by informing us about the requirements that exist when following these diets, and making sure to obtain all the necessary nutrients, such as proteins. , iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D3 or calcium from plant sources.
Ginter, E. (2008). Effects of Vegetarian Diets on Aging and Longevity. Bratisl Lek Listy, 109(1), 463-466.
Harvard medical school. (November of 2020). Eat more plant-based proteins to boost longevity. Obtenido de Harvard health publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/eat-more-plant-based-proteins-to-boost-longevity
Walter, P. (1997). Effects of Vegetarian Diets on Aging and Longevity. Nutrition reviews, 55(1), S61-S63.
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