An American Heart Association Meeting Report released last week summarises findings from studies of how plant-based diets affect humans. The specialists conclude that, “Adding high-quality plant-based foods to diet decreases risk of deaths from heart disease and other causes.”
The results show that, even in middle age, adding healthy plant foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables to your diet may reduce the risk of death from heart disease and other causes. However, the report also states that adding less healthy plant-based foods such as sugary beverages, potatoes, refined grains and sweets may increase the risk.
With nutrition and obesity being two of the biggest causes of health issues in the USA, the trend towards veganism continues to gain support as North Americans are turning away from foods high in saturated fats and looking for alternatives that are better for health and the environment.
The report states that compared to those who had fairly stable regular diets, researchers found that deaths during a 12-year follow-up period (1998-2014), were ten percent lower in those with the biggest increase in a healthy plant-based diet. Previous studies have shown that eating a high-quality plant-based diet can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, but this is the first to look at how positive or negative changes in diet may influence a person’s risk of dying, no matter where they started.
Megu Y. Baden, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and postdoctoral research fellow in the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston commented following the report: ‘Not all plant-based diets are equal, but boosting the intake of high-quality plant-based foods over time lowers the risk of death even among people who started off with poor-quality diets’.