To help break through the clutter of the myriad of studies and reports that get published each month, RedBrick Health chief medical officer, Dr. Jeff Dobro, will share a brief synopsis on some of the more interesting peer-reviewed studies that he assesses in an on-going series on the Health Innovation Blog.
With the holiday eating season in full-swing, it’s as good of a time as any to be aware of how a few simple changes in diet can have a positive impact on your life. Recently a study offers evidence that a vegetarian diet has shown to lower mortality rates. The study of more than 70,000 people over a 6-year period found that vegetarians (with or without consuming fish or eggs) were less likely to die from any cause compared to non-vegetarians. Death rates were reduced by 8 – 19% over the 6 years of the study. The reduction in mortality rates were attributed to the primary benefits of vegetarian diets, which are lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels as the majority of meals consist of low-fat vegetables, whole grains and fruit. What’s more, the study notes that the vegetarian group tended to be older, more highly educated and more likely to be married, to drink less alcohol, to smoke less, to exercise more and to be thinner.
As I noted, the study considered someone a vegetarian if they also consumed fish or eggs as part of their plant-based diet. This is significant, as while most people consider a vegetarian-only diet as one of the healthiest approaches, there are significant benefits to observing a pescatarian diet. In fact the study found that a semi-vegetarian diet in which fish and seafood are also consumed was the most influential in helping people (especially males) live longer.
The reason for this is likely that including fish and seafood gives pescatarians many nutrients and vitamins that are absent in other vegetarian diets. Varying the types of seafood is recommended, as are other sources of protein such as beans and nuts. This combination of food-sources is most like the Mediterranean diet you’ve heard so much about and one that can be delicious and fairly easy to stick with. So if any of the traits of the vegetarian group in the study are ones that you are hoping to achieve in the new year, why not make your first step towards that goal be a simple change in diet.
- Dr. Jeff Dobro, Chief Medical Officer, RedBrick Health
Source: JAMA Internal Medicine July 2013, Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1710093