(NaturalNews) There are many reasons why one makes a certain dietary choice. From hoping to heal a specific health condition to seeking to avoid some of the dangers known to exist in many food manufacturing methods (or both), several people embrace a vegetarian lifestyle. However, others have said that such a lifestyle can lead to a detrimental depletion of certain nutrients and as such, they advocate consumption of meat products. However, a new study shows that a vegetarian lifestyle does indeed have benefits that not only lead to longevity, but that can help the environment, reinforcing what many vegetarians have embraced all along (1).
The study, conducted by researchers from the Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California, is the first of its kind, in that it analyzed living populations rather than simulated data or small populations. "To our knowledge no studies have yet used a single non-simulated data set to independently assess the climate change mitigation potential and actual health outcomes for the same dietary patterns," says Dr. Joan Sabate, a nutrition professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health (1).
Researchers assessed the eating habits of over 70,000 people, all with varying ethnicities, throughout areas of Canada and the United States t. Ultimately, they concluded that vegetarians lived longer and that their way of eating helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Vegetarians and longevity
The study found that the mortality rate for non-vegetarians was almost 20 percent higher among vegetarians and semi-vegetarians than those who ate otherwise.
Considering that meat consumption illnesses in the United States are approximately $30-60 billion in medical costs yearly (2), the findings make sense. Everything from foodborne illnesses to its association with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes has been attributed to meat consumption.
Other studies have unearthed a correlation between a diet rich in plant-based foods and a reduction in cancer rates, as well as lowered cholesterol levels (2).
"The study sample is heterogeneous and our data is rich. We analyzed more than 73,000 participants. The level of detail we have on food consumption and health outcomes at the individual level makes these findings unprecedented," says Dr. Sam Soret, associate dean at the University (1).
The link between vegetarianism and environmental improvements
The study also found that switching from non-vegetarian diets to vegetarian diets or even semi-vegetarian diets plays a role in reducing greenhouse emissions. Quite simply, vegetarian diets resulted in almost one-third less emissions compared to the non-vegetarian diets, indicating that shifting from animal-based food diets may lead to improvements in areas such as the long-term effects of climate change (1).
By not eating animal-based foods, everything from water pollutants (due to animal waste) and deforestation, to depletion of certain wildlife species and excessive methane production can be prevented (3).
The diets people choose have a direct impact not only on their immediate and long-term health, but on the overall health of the planet as well.
About the author: Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. >>> Click here to see more by Michelle