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2 reasons why plant-based eaters are healthier

When you eat plant-based you are eating for your health. You’ll be healthier now. You’ll grow old with fewer health issues. And there’s a good chance you won’t die young from a health condition.

Many studies have shown plant-based diets:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease by 25-30% (1,2)

  • Prevent weight gain (3)

  • Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 50% (4)

  • Lower high blood pressure (5)

  • Reduce cholesterol levels to a similar extent as medications (6,7)

  • Lower the risk of certain cancers (1,8)

  • Reduce the risk of developing fatty liver disease by 20% (9)

  • May improve mental health and well-being (10)

  • May even be protective against dementia (11)

  • Reduce the risk of early death (2,13)

  • And plant protein meat swaps reduce the risk of early death by 34% (14)

With these remarkable benefits, it’s not surprising that plant-based diets are now included in guidelines as key components of a healthy lifestyle for the prevention of heart disease (15) and cancer (16). And, considering the two top causes of dying young in the UK (17) are cancer (42%) and heart disease (21%), switching to a plant-based diet is a great way to protect yourself!

Want to know how plant-based eaters do it? Here’s how…

1. Plant-based eaters don’t eat meat

I am stating the obvious, I know. But it’s the main difference and it’s the most important. And here’s why…

  • Processed meat such as bacon, sausages, ham, salami, smoked and canned meat is classified as a class-1 carcinogen by the World Health Organisation (WHO)(18). This means there is strong evidence that eating them causes cancer.

  • The WHO has also classified all red meat (beef, veal, lamb, pork, goat etc.) as class-2 carcinogens. This means they are probably cancer-causing.

  • All meat, including white meat like chicken(19), has high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. These are associated with increased risks of heart disease (20).

  • Dairy and eggs are high in saturated fat. Eggs are high in cholesterol too (20). Plant-based eaters, and vegans of course, who exclude these from their diets benefit even more.

  • Meat and dairy contain hormones and antibiotics. These are given to livestock to make them grow quicker and for disease control. These can have a negative impact on your health in many ways (21).

2. Plant-based eaters eat more healthily

When you fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, grains, pulses, beans, nuts and seeds, your body gets healthier. Here’s how…

  • Fruit and vegetables contain protective bioactive compounds such as antioxidants, polyphenols, fibre, vitamins and minerals. These reduce antioxidant stress. They also lower blood levels of VLDL and LDL cholesterol (the bad types). And they help you maintain a healthy weight.

That’s why eating plant-based is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (22), lower risk of developing several cancers (23), reduced risk of heart disease (23), and lower risk of becoming overweight (24).
  • In fact, a higher intake of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced overall mortality risk, by any cause (23). That’s pretty incredible!

  • Plant-based protein sources such as beans, legumes, pulses, and soy not only lower VLDL and LDL-cholesterol levels. They reduce your risk of cancer and diabetes too (25).

  • Whole grains are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, fibre, and protein. They are so nutritious that eating more of them is associated with lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease (26), reduced risk of some cancers (27,28), reduced risk of developing diabetes (29), and having a lower body weight (30).

  • Nuts and seeds are pack with vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre. Eating lots of them has shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer mortality (31,32).

This is why when you eat plant-based you are eating for your health. Every plateful helps you get healthier! And stay healthy, for life.

Healthy eating
The more plants you eat, the healthier you'll be


This post was inspired by and sources content from the Vegan Food & Living article ‘Why do vegans live longer? The real reasons why a plant-based diet can increase longevity’ written by the registered nutritionist TJ Waterfall. Thank you!

  1. Dinu M, Abbate R, Gensini GF, Casini A, Sofi F. Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;

  2. Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Spiegelman D, Chiuve SE, Manson JAE, Willett W, et al. Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;

  3. Satija A, Malik V, Rimm EB, Sacks F, Willett W, Hu FB. Changes in intake of plant-based diets and weight change: Results from 3 prospective cohort studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2019.

  4. Papier K, Appleby PN, Fensom GK, Knuppel A, Perez-Cornago A, Schmidt JA, et al. Vegetarian diets and risk of hospitalisation or death with diabetes in British adults: results from the EPIC-Oxford study. Nutr Diabetes. 2019;

  5. Lee KW, Loh HC, Ching SM, Devaraj NK, Hoo FK. Effects of vegetarian diets on blood pressure lowering: A systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis. Nutrients. 2020;12(6).

  6. Bradbury KE, Crowe FL, Appleby PN, Schmidt JA, Travis RC, Key TJ. Serum concentrations of cholesterol, apolipoprotein A-I and apolipoprotein B in a total of 1694 meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014;

  7. Yokoyama Y, Levin SM, Barnard ND. Association between plant-based diets and plasma lipids: A systematic review and meta- analysis. Nutr Rev. 2017;

  8. Kane-Diallo A, Srour B, Sellem L, Deschasaux M, Latino-Martel P, Hercberg S, et al. Association between a pro plant-based dietary score and cancer risk in the prospective NutriNet-santé cohort. Int J Cancer. 2018;

  9. Mazidi M, Kengne A. Higher adherence to plant-based diets are associated with lower likelihood of fatty liver. Clin Nutr. 2018;Epub ahead.

  10. Agarwal U, Mishra S, Xu J, Levin S, Gonzales J, Barnard ND. A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a nutrition intervention program in a multiethnic adult population in the corporate setting reduces depression and anxiety and improves quality of life: The GEICO study. Am J Heal Promot. 2015;

  11. Livingston G, Sommerlad A, Orgeta V, Costafreda SG, Huntley J, Ames D, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. Lancet. 2017;

  12. Kim H, Caulfield LE, Rebholz CM. Healthy plant-based diets are associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality in US Adults. J Nutr. 2018;

  13. Kim H, Caulfield LE, Garcia-Larsen V, Steffen LM, Coresh J, Rebholz CM. Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All-Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle- Aged Adults. J Am Heart Assoc. 2019;

  14. Budhathoki S, Sawada N, Iwasaki M, Yamaji T, Goto A, Kotemori A, et al. Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake with All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in a Japanese Cohort. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;

  15. Arnett DK, Blumenthal RS, Albert MA, Buroker AB, Goldberger ZD, Hahn EJ, et al. 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2019;

  16. Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, Gapstur SM, McCullough ML, Patel A V., et al. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA Cancer J Clin. 2020;

  17. GBD Diet Collaborators. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet. 2019;Published.

  18. WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (2015). Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and prcessed meat. Accessed 11.10.17 at:

  19. Wang, Y., Lehane, C., Ghebremeskel, K., & Crawford, M. (2010). Modern organic and broiler chickens sold for human consumption provide more energy from fat than protein. Public Health Nutrition, 13(3), 400-408.

  20. Hooper, L., Martin, N., Abdelhamid, A., & Smith, G. (2015). Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews, (6), CD011737.

  21. Jeong, Sang-Hee, Kang, Daejin, Lim, Myung-Woon, Kang, Chang Soo, & Sung, Ha Jung. (2010). Risk assessment of growth hormones and antimicrobial residues in meat. Toxicological Research, 26(4), 301-13.

  22. Carter, P., Gray, L., Troughton, J., Khunti, K., & Davies, M. (2010). Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: Systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ, 341, BMJ, 19, 19 August August 2010, Vol.341.

  23. Schwingshackl, L., & Hoffmann, G. (2014). Adherence to Mediterranean diet and risk of cancer: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of observational studies. International Journal of Cancer, 135(8), 1884-1897.

  24. Mytton, O., Nnoaham, K., Eyles, H., Scarborough, P., & Mhurchu, C. (2014). Systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of increased vegetable and fruit consumption on body weight and energy intake. Bmc Public Health, 14, Bmc Public Health, 2014 Aug 28, Vol.14.

  25. Levine, Suarez, Brandhorst, Balasubramanian, Cheng, Madia, . . . Longo. (2014). Low Protein Intake Is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65 and Younger but Not Older Population. Cell Metabolism,19(3), 407-417.

  26. Tighe, Paula, Duthie, Garry, Vaughan, Nicholas, Brittenden, Julie, Simpson, William G, Duthie, Susan, . . . Thies, Frank. (2010). Effect of increased consumption of whole-grain foods on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk markers in healthy middle-aged persons: A randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 92(4), 733-40.

  27. Aune, D., Chan, D., Lau, R., Vieira, R., Greenwood, D., Kampman, E., & Norat, T. (2011). Dietary fibre, whole grains, and risk of colorectal cancer: Systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ : British Medical Journal, 343, BMJ : British Medical Journal, 2011, Vol.343.

  28. Skeie, G., Braaten, T., Olsen, A., Kyrø, C., Tjønneland, A., Landberg, R., . . . Lund, E. (2016). Intake of whole grains and incidence of oesophageal cancer in the HELGA Cohort. European Journal of Epidemiology, 31(4), 405-414.

  29. Chanson-Rolle, A., Meynier, A., Aubin, F., Lappi, J., Poutanen, K., Vinoy, S., . . . Barengo, N. (2015). Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Human Studies to Support a Quantitative Recommendation for Whole Grain Intake in Relation to Type 2 Diabetes (Meta-Analysis to Recommend a Whole Grain Intake). 10(6), E0131377.

  30. Giacco, Della Pepa, Luongo, & Riccardi. (2011). Whole grain intake in relation to body weight: From epidemiological evidence to clinical trials. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 21(12), 901-908.

  31. Del Gobbo, L., Falk, M., Feldman, R., Lewis, K., & Mozaffarian, D. (2015). Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: Systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(6), 1347-56.

  32. Grosso, G., Yang, J., Marventano, S., Micek, A., Galvano, F., & Kales, S. (2015). Nut consumption on all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,101(4), 783-793

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