Recently, a new study led by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), has explored the impact of plant-based or vegan diets on the health of a person and found that they can significantly lower the risk of a number of health issues ranging from cardiovascular disease to type 2 diabetes.
According to the findings of a report from 2017, vegan diets have gained popularity all around the world. More and more people are switching from the usual diets to plant-based ones.
In the US, only one percent of the population consumed a plant-based diet in 2014. The percentage had increased to six percent in 2017. This also suggests that more people are likely to go vegan in the future.
There are multiple reasons for the changing trends in the daily diet. For many people, consuming a plant-based diet helps reduce the environmental impact of massive-scale farming as well as protects cattle and other animals around the globe.
Others have found that a plant-based diet suits them better and can help them achieve their fitness goals.
In addition, research from the past has also shown that a vegan diet is beneficial for people with certain health conditions and might even help them manage their disease as well as reverse it.
The advantages associated with plant-based diets are primarily because of high-fiber intake. Secondly, the diet is also low in bad cholesterol or LDL, fats, and sugar.
The new study, whose findings appear in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, adds further to medical literature present on the benefits of vegan diets and shows that people with a high risk of cardiometabolic disorders including heart disease and diabetes can benefit from switching to a plant-based diet.
More specifically, the researchers focused on the increased risk of cardiometabolic disorders that comes with the process of aging. The context of the research was important because the population of older adults is increasing with each passing year.
According to the director of clinical research for the PCRM and the leading investigator of the study, Hana Kahleova, the number of people over the age of sixty will double in two to three decades.
This rise in the population of older adults, who usually have more health issues than any other age group, will strain healthcare systems as most of them are not ready. To handle such challenges in the future, research based on the context of aging is important.
In the new study, the team specifically found that plant-based diets are beneficial for older adults as they reduce the likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome, which is associated with potentially threatening conditions and cardiovascular events.
People who consume vegan diets have a forty percent reduced risk of having cardiometabolic disorders and cardiovascular events. They also tend to live longer than those who have a usual omnivorous diet.
The researchers also pointed towards people living in ‘Blue Zones’ which are areas in the world where people have the longest lives. For example, Okinawa in Japan is one such area.
People living in such areas have healthy lifestyles which include having moderate physical activity in the daily routine and avoiding alcohol consumption as well as smoking. In addition, they also have plant-based diets.
The diet of people from Okinawa is mostly based on leafy green vegetables, fruits, and soy-based foods.
Therefore, the researchers conclude that early life interventions such as switching to vegan diets can help in longer and healthier life with a low risk of cardiometabolic disorders.