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Vegetarians May be at Lower Risk for Heart Disease

Vegetarian diets have increased in popularity in recent years, as more people explore the potential health benefits of eliminating meat from their diets. A recent study suggests that vegetarians have a 32% less likely chance of being hospitalized or dying as a result of heart disease.

The study included 45,000 individuals who participated in the EPIC-Oxford study. 34% of the participants were vegetarian, a significantly higher number than found in most studies.

The researchers controlled for age, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, educational level, and use of contraceptives or hormone therapy for menopausal women. They concluded that vegetarians between the ages of 50 and 70 had a 4.6% probability of ischemic heart disease, while non-vegetarians of the same age had a 6.8% probability.

Vegetarians in this study had lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels than the non-vegetarians. The researchers believe that this difference contributed to the difference in heart disease risk.

The study was conducted by researchers at Oxford University. It was published in the March 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Previous research has linked vegetarian diets with lower incidence of hypertension, obesity and type 2 diabetes. If you’re decide to switch to a vegetarian diet, consult a nutritionist to make sure you’re getting all of the proper nutrients. Many vegetarians choose to supplement their diets with high quality supplements.

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