antiinflammatory vegetarian diet reduces risk of death from cardiovascular disease cancer and any cause

Lots of trendy diets claim to be the healthiest diet. But the science consistently backs only one. This is the only real healthiest diet.

You can study diet for cancer, heart disease or diabetes; you can study the many different mechanisms by which diets can be healthy; but the science consistently points to the same diet. The closer you are to following a vegetarian diet, the healthier you are going to be.

That’s true for heart disease and cancer, for diabetes and longevity. It’s true because of the better fats, the greater fiber and the burst of antioxidants. And now a new study shows that it’s true for a new reason. This study looked at the risk of dying and how inflammatory your diet is.

Plant foods are anti-inflammatory; animal foods are inflammatory. So, you can imagine that that would have a pronounced effect on obviously inflammatory conditions like arthritis, asthma and allergies. But what effect would that have on death from heart disease, death from cancer and death from all causes? That’s what this massive, new study set out to see.

The anti-inflammatory foods included fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil and canola oil, nuts, chocolate, tea, coffee, and moderate amounts of red wine and beer. The inflammatory foods included meat—both processed and unprocessed—chips and soft drinks.

The study followed 68,273 men and women who were between the ages of 45 and 83 for 16 years. Compared to people who had the most inflammatory diet, people who had the most anti-inflammatory diet had an 18% reduced risk of dying from any cause during the study. They had a 13% reduced risk of dying from cancer and a 20% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Smokers, who stand to benefit even more because they are at higher risk, did benefit even more: they had a 31% reduced risk of death from any cause, a 22% reduced risk of dying from cancer and a 36% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

This important new study shows that an anti-inflammatory diet is important for helping you to live longer and explains yet another reason why the vegetarian diet is so good for you.


Journal of Internal Medicine 2018; doi.org/10.1111/joim.12823


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For much more on having a healthy diet, see Linda's newest book, The All-New Vegetarian Passport: a comprehensive health book and cookbook all in one.

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