Ditching animal products and following a vegan diet may help reduce disease and therefore improve mortality, a study from The Journal Of Nutrition claims.
The study, which looks at how dietary intake effects biomarkers such as carotenoids, isoflavones, enterolactone, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamins, involves over 800 people.
Particpants were classified into five different diet groups (vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, non-vegetarian). Particpants also had to complete food-frequency questionnaires.
The results show that vegans had the highest concentration of the antioxidant carotenoids, which has previously been associated with a plant-based diet. Vegans also had higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in their body, while having lower proportions of saturated fatty acids.
The study concludes: "The findings reported here are of value, given previously reported associations between vegetarian diet patterns and health outcomes, including apparent reductions of cancer incidence, cardiometabolic risk factors, type 2 diabetes, and overall mortality.
"It is understood that phytochemicals play an important role in [the] prevention of these diseases. There is considerable evidence, particularly for the anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities of carotenoids, polyphenols, and isoflavones."
Increased risk of cancer
The association of cancer and meat consumption has been highlighted in the past after The World Health Organization branded processed meat as carcinogenic.
Last year, a meta-study claimed that women who regularly eat processed meat including bacon and sausages could be increasing their breast cancer risk.
The review, which was published in the International Journal of Cancer, compiled the findings of 15 previous studies involving more than 1.2 million subjects and found those who ate high levels of processed meat faced a nine percent increased risk compared to those who ate little.