Plant-based diets can slash the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, according to a huge UK study.
Health check service Medichecks surveyed 10,000 Brits to explore the effects of a plant-based diet versus eating meat.
The study’s findings
It found that vegan had a lower blood sugar (HbA1c) count, meaning a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Vegans also showed reduced non-HDL (unhealthy) cholesterol and lower overall cholesterol than meat-eaters – meaning a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Moreover, the study showed vegans had around a 30 percent higher blood level of folate compared to those following a non-vegan diet. Folate is one of the B-vitamins needed to make red and white blood cells and it converts carbohydrates into energy.
The marker for liver health (GGT) was 25-30 percent lower for vegans compared to omnivores.
Dr. Natasha Fernando is a GP and Head of Clinical Excellence at Medichecks. In a statement sent to PBN, she said: “An important finding from this 2020 study is the effect of a plant-based diet in supporting the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels, because this is a determinant for type 2 diabetes.
“As published recently in The Lancet, diabetics are 40 percent more likely to have fatal or critical-care COVID. The evidence that switching to plant-based foods can manage or reverse this condition is hugely valuable, particularly as we navigate the peak of this pandemic.”
‘Balanced and nutritious’
Dr. Fernando added: “At this stage in our fight against COVID, everyone can continue to do their bit not just by following the government guidance, but also by taking personal responsibility to safeguard their health.
“That means making a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet a priority – that goes both for vegans and meat-eaters. Almost all of the underlying conditions that increase risk factors for coronavirus are preventable and, in many cases, reversible.”
You can view the full study here