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Trendy vegan diets really are good for you, research suggests.
A study of more than 12,000 people found those who ate mostly plant-based foods were 32 per cent less likely to die from heart disease.
Vegetables - Grains - Nuts - Risk - Cause
Opting for vegetables, whole grains and nuts also reduced their risk of dying from any cause by a quarter over 29 years, scientists found.
The researchers from Johns Hopkins University stress people do not have to give up meat and dairy completely to reap the benefits.
People - Proportion - Foods - Heart - Health
However, they argued people should consume a 'larger proportion of plant-based foods' if they want better heart health.
Other experts were quick to point even vegan food, like French fries and soda, can be unhealthy.
Heart - Disease - Quarter - Deaths - US
Heart disease is responsible for a quarter of all deaths in the US and UK, statistics show.
Vegetarian diets have been found to reduce risk factors for conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
Studies - Results - Meat - Reduces - Risk
However, studies have thrown up mixed results as to whether cutting back on meat and fish reduces the risk of an early death.
To understand this better, the researchers analysed data from 12,168 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study.
Participants - Food - Questionnaire - Start - Study
Its participants, who were aged 45-to-64, completed a food questionnaire at the start of the study in 1987.
The researchers then grouped the volunteers, who were considered to be otherwise healthy, according to their adherence to a plant-based diet.
Rates - Heart - Disease - Death - Participants
Rates of heart disease and death among the participants were assessed nearly three decades later in 2016.
Results revealed those who ate the most vegan foods were 16 per cent less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than those who consumed the least.
Consumption - Average - Pieces - Fruit - Vegetables
The highest plant-based consumption was defined as an average of 4.1-to-4.8 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day and just 0.8-to-0.9 portions of red or processed meat.
Those with the lowest intake...
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