Vegans will outlive all of us, new study suggests
Despite wanting nothing other than to avoid killing animals and promote saving the planet, vegans often get a bad rap. So what gives?
Maybe it's got something to do with their preachy nature, and how they're always telling us that we probably shouldn't kill so many pigs, or keep so many chickens locked up in tiny cages. Or maybe it's because we envy their willpower, and the way they so effortlessly abstain from meat while the rest of us can't go more than 12 hours without chowing down on some kind of animal product.
Or maaaybe it's got something to do with the fact that they'll probably outlive the rest of us - and the only way to beat them, annoyingly, is to join them.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, vegans have the healthiest lifestyle across people of all dietary groups.
The study looked into the health 840 people who each fit into one of five main categories: pure vegans (who ate no animal products at all), vegetarians (who ate no meat or fish, but still indulged in eggs or dairy), pescatarians (who ate fish but not meat), semi-vegetarians (who ate meat less than once a week, but more than once a month), and non-vegetarians.
Out of everyone, vegans were shown to have the highest level of antioxidants across people of all dietary groups. These higher levels of antioxidants are key to a longer life, as they can prevent or slow damage to the body's cells.
"We have shown marked differences in several biomarkers of dietary intake among individuals classified according to dietary patterns depending on the consumption of animal products," the researchers explained. "Notable distinctions were seen for plasma, urine, and adipose biomarkers comparing vegans, lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and pesco-vegetarians to non-vegetarians."
Vegans were also found to have the highest levels of isoflavones and enterolactone, which are also believed to decrease inflammation. High levels of inflammation have been linked to a number of potentially life-threatening diseases, including a number of cancers.
What's more, those who abstained from animal products also had the highest levels of omega-3 in their system. This may sound surprising to some, as the fatty acid is most commonly associated with fish. However, it is also found in popular vegan foods such as walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, so it could be that non-meat eaters are getting their fix from that.
Overall, though, it does not seem to be that a lack of meat is making vegans healthier, but rather and excess of vegetables and plant-based foods.
"Previous reports have noted higher consumption of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, soy, nuts and seeds among vegetarians, most notably vegans, but also lacto-ovo- and pesco-vegetarians," the study noted.
So, instead of moaning about vegans all the time - why not try to take a leaf out of their books? It might just mean a longer life for you.