In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Do vegans live longer?” and will discuss the reasons for vegans’ longevity over non-vegans.
Do vegans live longer?
Yes, vegans’ live longer. Studies on Seventh-day Adventists who primarily consume plant foods due to their religious convictions started in 1958 and are still ongoing, but preliminary data indicate that vegans’ men and women live an average of 9.5 years longer than meat-eating peers. Moreover, vegans are found to be 30 pounds lighter and five BMI units smaller than meat-eaters, according to Adventists. According to the study, total mortality of overall disease events is about 12 percent lower for all age groups. Total cancers, cancers of the colon and rectum, and cardiovascular disease are also less frequent (1).
However, not all vegans are capable of maintaining a healthy diet. In a prospective cross-over study in volunteers, ingesting animal or vegan diets, amino acid intake was significantly lower when ingesting vegan diets. The highest decreases were found for methionine (60% in female and male individuals), Cysteine (50% in female individuals, 40% for male individuals) and tryptophan (50% in female and male individuals). Uptake of all other amino acids except arginine, was also at least 40% lower in the vegan group, whereas total calorie uptake in the vegan group amounted to 85% of the group on animal diet. The proportional intake of neutral amino acids was normal. Interestingly, in the vegan group, vitamin B12 intake was zero, potassium was 40% and phosphorus 55% of the animal diet group (5).
What explains the extended lifespan of certain vegans?
There are two primary theories as to why vegans live longer than the ordinary person: one involves nutrition, and the other involves a vegan’s way of life.
Vegetarian diets often include high levels of beneficial nutrients
Veganism forbids the consumption of any animal products, such as meat, dairy, eggs, and their derivatives. In most cases, this leads to a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as whole grains. According to several studies, consuming a lot of these plant-based meals may increase your lifespan. In the same way, diets low in red and processed meat may be stated to be beneficial.
The majority of the ailments are related to oxidative stress induced by free radicals. Free radical induced cellular inflammation appears to be a major contributing factor to cause aging, and degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hepatic diseases, renal ailments, and brain dysfunction. Providentially, free radical formation is controlled naturally by phytochemicals, through their antioxidant potential which plays a key role in preventing many diseases including cancer by suppressing oxidative stress-induced DNA damage (2).
A vegan diet also includes a lot of fiber, plant protein, and antioxidants, which are all beneficial. Eating a lot of these nutrients may help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, all of which are linked to a shorter life expectancy.
Vegans are more likely to have healthier lives.
Vegans may be more health-conscious as a group than the overall population. One study found that vegans were less likely to smoke or consume alcohol than meat-eaters. Also, they tend to be more likely to have a normal body mass index (BMI), to engage in regular physical activity, and to abstain from eating foods that have been highly processed.
A study conducted a randomized controlled trial in 75 overweight adults comparing a low-fat vegan diet for 16 weeks with unchanged dietary habits. Beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity were significantly increased by the low-fat plant-based diet and BMI, fat mass and visceral fat significantly reduced. When analyzing protein and amino acid intake, increases in plant proteins (on averageþ19.2 g/ day) and decreases in animal protein intake (and in particular leucine) were associated with decreased fat mass (3).
One theory put out by researchers is that those who are more health aware may live longer than those who aren’t.
Benefits of eating plant-based diets
vegetarians, vegans, and other plant-based eaters are more likely to have
· Better gut profiles – less harmful bacteria and more defensive species in the stomach. Vegetarians and vegans harbor a more diverse gut microbiota than omnivores, which is beneficial for health. This higher diversity and stability is because of a higher consumption of complex carbohydrates and fibers (prebiotics), which are to a substantial degree fermented by microbiota to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that can have beneficial health effects (3).
· lowering the heart rate and blood pressure – Plant phytochemicals such as allicin, from onions and garlic and anthocyanins, from red fruits are good regulators of blood pressure and hypertension (2).
· Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease – Carotenoids found in carrots and flavonoids from green tea, for example, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (2).
· Reduced incidence of cancer in the general population – Many flavonoids found in plants have shown to possess the anticancer properties. There are many dietary flavonoids such as apigenin, quercetin and resveratrol showed the anticancer effect against various cancers such as breast, lung, liver, skin, blood, colon, prostate, pancreatic, cervical, oral, and stomach by modulating the signal pathway of apoptosis (2).
· Lessens the possibility of getting diabetes – Studies show that, when compared with omnivorous and ovo-lacto-vegetarian diets, vegan diets appeared to lower the risk of type-2 diabetes (3).
For a variety of reasons, a plant-based diet may be beneficial for your health.
· Vegans abstain from eating animal products
Over the last five years, several meta-analysis have partially demonstrated the aggravating role of red meat on adults’ health; proposing a clear positive association of processed meat and CVD (i.e., coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke), cancer incidence (i.e., colon, lung,pancreatic) and mortality (4).
The apparent difference between meat-eaters and those on a plant-based diet is, of course, that the former consume more animal products. It’s a significant distinction, as follows:
· Class-1 carcinogens include processed foods like ham, sausage, salami, bacon, and smoked and tinned meat. Tobacco smoke, asbestos, and radioactive barium all fall under this category.
· Saturated fat and cholesterol are present in all meat, including in lean cuts like chicken, and are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat is abundant in dairy and eggs, so vegans gain even more by cutting out these foodstuffs.
. During cooking of meat, heating leads to aromatic hydrocarbons and het-erocyclic amines formation, usually blamed for their contribution to cancer onset and evolution, due to their mutagenic properties. Moreover, as for the processed meat, the nitrous preserva-tives added in the industrial procedure are potential carcinogenic compounds. Sodium and haem iron are additional usually accused substances (4).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized processed meat as a class-1 carcinogen which means the evidence is equally as solid as it is for smoking and asbestos, both of which are class-1 carcinogens! All red meat (beef, lamb, hog, goat, etc.) is categorized as a class-2 carcinogen, which means it is likely to cause cancer.
Hormones and antibiotics used to improve weight growth and feed efficiency are included in meat and dairy products, and they may have a variety of negative health effects on humans.
· Vegetarians and vegans enjoy a healthier diet.
Studies show that vegetarians have reduced circulating levels of trimethylamine N-Oxide (TMAO), the product of a microbial metabolite that is increased upon the consumption of red meat and associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and neurological disorders (3).
If you don’t eat meat, you’re more likely to consume more vegetables, fruits, grains, pulses, beans, nuts, and seeds to make up for the calories you lose. Vegans may also be more health-conscious.
This is not always the case (some vegans subsist on junk food), but overall, people who eat vegan tend to choose complete, nutrient-dense plant meals. And it has a slew of advantages for your health:
· Protective bioactive compounds found in fruits and vegetables, such as antioxidants and polyphenols, as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals, work through a variety of complex mechanisms to reduce antioxidant stress, lower blood levels of LDL, and VLDL cholesterol and help people stay at a healthy weight. As a result, it should come as no surprise that increased consumption has been linked to a decreased incidence of type 2 diabetes, many malignancies, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
A plant-based diet protects against chronic oxidative stress-related diseases. Many researchers reported that dietary fruits, vegetables, and grains apply a protective effect against the development of these chronic diseases. This protective role can be predominantly credited to the phytochemicals in them, which are defined as bioactive non-nutrient compounds in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other parts. Antioxidants or inhibitors of oxidation are compounds that retard or prevent the oxidation in general, and prolong the life of the oxidizable matter (2).
Whole grains are also a good source of phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, and fiber, in addition to their other nutrients. Indeed, because of their high nutritional value, eating more whole grains is connected with lower blood pressure, a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, a lower risk of several malignancies, and lower blood sugar levels (2).
Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.
Does being vegan before 6 works?
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Do vegans live longer?” and discussed the reasons for vegans’ longevity over non-vegans.
- Fraser, Gary E. Diet, life expectancy, and chronic disease: studies of Seventh-Day Adventists and other vegetarians. Oxford University Press, 2003.
- Makhaik, Manju Singh, Arvind K. Shakya, and Raosaheb Kale. Dietary Phytochemicals: As a Natural Source of Antioxidants. Antioxidants-Benefits Sources, Mechanisms of Action. IntechOpen, 2021.
- Norman, Kristina, and Susanne Klaus. Veganism, aging and longevity: new insight into old concepts. Curr Op Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2020, 23, 145-150.
- Kouvari, Matina, Stefanos Tyrovolas, and Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos. Red meat consumption and healthy ageing: A review. Maturitas, 2016, 84, 17-24.
- Soeters, Peter B. Vegan diets: what is the benefit?. Curr Op Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2020, 23, 151-153.