A report last month in The Journal of Nutrition shows findings from the Loma Linda University School of Public Health which states that vegans have more disease-fighting biomarkers than non-vegans. Biomarkers in blood, urine, fat tissue and other biospecimens can serve as predictors of health and disease.
Biomarkers can have bad and good health effects, promoting or preventing cancer, cardiovascular and age-related diseases, and other chronic conditions. Vegans scored highest for phytochemicals (compounds in plants) including carotenoids, isoflavones, and enterolactone. The strictly plant-based group also had the highest levels of total omega-3, attributable to higher amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, and lowest levels of saturated fatty acids.
The study examined data from 840 participants, amongst five categories: vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians, pesco-vegetarians, semi-vegetarians, non-vegetarians. After the pole-position came the lacto-ovo and pesco-vegetarians, semi-vegetarians fared only slightly better than non-vegetarians, who unsurprisingly took the last place.
Fayth Miles, PhD, an assistant professor at the school and lead author of the study, said about the findings: “An awareness that a healthier biomarker profile is obtained with a plant-based diet should motivate people to be proactive about dietary habits that promote good health and prevent disease.”