Veg out, live longer (2023)

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When a vegetarian, Marie-Louise Meilleur, was named as the world's oldest person at 122, the usual hunt for the secret of her longevity ensued. Was it hard work, religion, having a lot of friends, a good man, a life of abstinence, being a non-smoker?

For the French-Canadian woman who took up fencing at 85, smoked till she was 95, still rode a bicycle at 100 and made a rap CD at 121, the reason for living so long was put down to a vegetarian diet, supplemented by modest amounts of olive oil, port wine and chocolate.

(Video) Masego - Veg Out (Wasting Thyme) (Live from Capitol Studio A, presented by Genesis GV80)

Mme Meilleur, who died six years ago, was the latest in a long line of holders of the title as the world's oldest person whose diets have been exclusively or largely vegetarian. Every now and then remarkably old people such as her emerge, although usually they are found among geographically isolated agrarian peoples whose diets are primarily vegetarian, such as the Hunzakuts of Pakistan and the mountain-dwellers of Turkey.

The notion that vegetarian diets lead to a healthier and longer life has been given further support from research based on the Second World War experiences of people in Scandinavia, where dietary restrictions virtually wiped meat off the menu. It is now known that the loss of meat led to a drop in the mortality rate, and that when diets returned to normal after the war, so too did the death rate.

(Video) Masego - Veg Out (Wasting Thyme) [Lyric Video]

In spite of these observations, there has never been any definitive proof of just how much extra time on earth a vegetarian can expect to get. Not, that is, until now. New research shows that being a vegetarian for 20 years or more adds almost four years to the average lifespan. Dr Pramil Singh, who led the research, says: "We are the first to come up with a life-expectancy figure showing a very important increase in life expectancy for those who follow a vegetarian diet for a long period of time.''

In the research, he and other epidemiologists analysed long-term data from a group of Adventists who have been monitored for more than 40 years. They also reviewed data from six other studies, including two in the United Kingdom and one in Germany. One of the two UK studies showed a 20 per cent drop in mortality among vegetarians, while the German study suggested an even greater reduction.

Although the British and German data supported the principle of reduced mortality in non-meat-eaters, it was the 7,100 people in the Adventist study who were the key to obtaining long-term accurate information from men and women who had been vegetarians for a considerable length of time.

"The Adventists gave us a unique opportunity," says Dr Singh, of Loma Linda University in California. "When you study populations and try to look at the effects of zero or low meat consumption, you get situations where some people follow it and other don't. What we have in the Adventists is a group of people who follow the recommendations of their church and who wind up being vegetarian for a long time. That is enough people with which to make mortality comparisons.''

Not only were the researchers able to follow the lives of the Adventist vegetarians; they were also able to distinguish between those who had been vegetarian for more than 20 years, those who had lapsed, and those who were eating little or no meat for a shorter period of time.

When the researchers analysed the data, they found considerable differences in the lifespans of the different groups. "Survival data indicate that long-term vegetarians do experience a significant 3.6-year survival advantage over short-term vegetarians,'' says a report based on the research. The life expectancy of the average 20-years-or-more vegetarian in the study was 86.5 years, compared to 82.9 for the short-term vegetarians. The figures were averaged for men and women.

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The next big question facing researchers is why vegetarians live so much longer. Is it because they are exposed to fewer of any negative health effects that may be associated with meat eating? Is it because they benefit from the positive health effects of eating more vegetables? Or is it simply that people who choose to be vegetarians have lifestyles that differ in other ways which favour a longer lifespan?

"We simply don't know," says Dr Susan Jebb, the head of nutrition research at the Medical Research Council's Human Nutrition Research Unit in Cambridge. "There are all kind of things that could be going on. Vegetarians may be exposed to more of the beneficial effects of fruit and vegetables simply because they eat more, or the lifestyle package that often goes with being a vegetarian could play a role too. It may well be a little bit of each.''

In California, Dr Singh says that more work is needed to discover what could be important, but he points out that positive effects for plant foods have been found. "Among Adventists, one of the things we found was that consumption of legumes, nuts and salads seemed, in separate analyses, to show independent decreases in risk. We have additional work which suggests that use of legumes reduces risk of death. Green salad or green vegetable also seem to decrease overall risk.''

Other research suggests that the range of antioxidants that are found in the pigments of fruit and vegetables are among the most effective health-enhancing compounds in vegetables. Antioxidants help to prevent the cellular damage caused by free radicals in the body.

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Researchers at Glasgow University found that some fruits and vegetables have more of one type of antioxidants - flavonols - than other crops. They have also found differences between different types of similar fruit and vegetables. Tiny cherry tomatoes, for example, have many more of the chemicals than bigger tomatoes. Red onions are full of flavonols, while the white version has almost none.

Colour is important, too. Researchers from a number of countries who have been taking part in an international study say that the more vibrant the colour of the vegetable, the higher its antioxidant level. Dr Luke Howard of Arkansas University says: "There are literally thousands of compounds in vegetables that may be health-protective, and we need to eat a wide variety. We also need to look at breeding fruits and vegetables that contain higher levels of health-protective substances."

As is the way with these things, of course, not all the evidence supports enhanced lifespan. One British study into longevity and diet based on 4,600 people found no difference.

Another difficulty is that not all those people who show great longevity are vegetarians. When Mme Meilleur died, her title passed to a 117-year-old American woman who hated vegetables. Relatives said that she had eaten chocolate, crisps, pretzels and sweets while avoiding anything remotely resembling a vegetable.

And then there's the strange case of Yukichi Chuganji, who inherited the mantle of the world's oldest person in January last year, at the age of 112. He bucked the apparent trend in a major way. It isn't just that the retired silkworm breeder from the island of Kyushu, in Japan, hated vegetables. The real blow is that one of his passions was eating meat.

(Video) VEGANS vs MEAT EATERS - Who Will Live Longer? Food / Diet Comparison

FAQs

Does being vegetarian make you live longer? ›

A team of researchers at Loma Linda University in the United States has shown vegetarian men live for an average of 10 years longer than non-vegetarian men — 83 years compared to 73 years. For women, being vegetarian added an extra 6 years to their lives, helping them reach 85 years on average.

Do vegetarians Last Longer in Bed? ›

The findings reveal that 84 per cent of vegetarians reported satisfaction with their sex lives, compared to only 59 per cent of meat eaters (95 per cent of the vegan participants said they were satisfied). Dietary preference was also connected with sexual frequency.

Do vegetarians heal slower? ›

Recent scientific findings point to the fact that a plant-based diet and wound healing might not actually go hand-in-hand. If you eat a majority (or wholly) plant-food diet, and have found yourself struggling with slow wound healing, it's possible that your food could be the culprit.

Can a plant-based diet reverse aging? ›

A plant-based diet slows aging

At five years, the age-related decrease in telomerase activity was much less in the plant-based group than a control group and their telomeres were longer, suggesting a slowing of the aging process.

Why do Japanese people live longer? ›

Due to the low prevalence of obesity in Japan, the low mortality rates from ischemic heart disease and cancer are thought to be the reasons behind the longevity of Japanese people. Japanese have a low intake of red meat, specifically saturated fatty acids.

What happens if you suddenly go vegetarian? ›

Vegetarians and vegans can expect more energy, lower chances of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, shiny hair, great nails and even better sleep, just to mention a few. Of course, with the good comes a little of the bad: like a need to be more focused on your protein intake, your vitamin D and iron.

Why do vegetarians look younger? ›

Typically, a plant-based diet is high in vitamin C, lysine and antioxidants, all of which help with the production of collagen at a cellular level. In turn, this helps the skin to stay supple and youthful-looking.

Do vegetarians have less body odor? ›

A 2006 study by Czech researchers found women judge the body odor of vegetarian men to be "significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense," than that of their carnivorous friends. So, cut out the meat and go in for the cuddle: Your armpits smell "significantly less intense" than that dude's.

Do vegetarians have smaller brains? ›

Our conclusion for this piece is rather simple: there is no evidence to suggest that the vegan diet per se is in any way linked to any issues with brain shrinkage. There is some evidence to suggest that a lack of vitamin B12 could cause such a problem and may be linked with dementia in the elderly.

Do vegetarians skin age faster? ›

While there are a variety of health benefits associated with following a vegan diet, eating a vegan diet won't make you age faster or slower in and of itself.

What percent of vegetarians quit? ›

The language used by Faunalytics is explicit in counting those who've tried vegetarianism or veganism only once and even for less than three months as vegans or vegetarians. They even say quite plainly in the research findings: “84 percent of vegetarians/vegans abandon their diet.”

Are vegetarians less depressed? ›

A new study found that people who excluded meat from their diets had twice as many depressive episodes as omnivores.

What is the healthiest diet for longevity? ›

Dr. Longo described the key to longevity: “Lots of legumes, whole grains, and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or processed meat, and very low white meat; low sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and some dark chocolate.”

What foods make you look younger? ›

  • Extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest oils on earth. ...
  • Green tea. Green tea is high in antioxidants, which can help fight free radicals in the body. ...
  • Fatty Fish. ...
  • Dark chocolate or cocoa. ...
  • Vegetables. ...
  • Flax seeds. ...
  • Pomegranates. ...
  • Avocados.

Which nationality lives the longest? ›

Countries ranked by life expectancy
#CountryMales Life Expectancy
1Hong Kong82.38
2Japan81.91
3Macao81.73
4Switzerland82.42
92 more rows

What race lives longest? ›

Racial gaps in life expectancy have long been recognized. The same CDC data show that nationally, Hispanic Americans have the longest life expectancy, followed by white and then Black Americans.

What culture lives the longest? ›

Okinawa. Elderly Okinawans have among the lowest death rates in the world from common diseases — a fact attributed to a traditional Japanese diet, with only 25 percent of sugar and 75 percent of grain intake.

Can you live healthy without meat? ›

Even though meats provide certain nutrients that plants don't, eating meat isn't necessary for your health or survival. With appropriate planning and supplements, plant-based diets can provide the nutrients your body needs.

Is giving up meat healthy? ›

The health factor

And people who don't eat meat — vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than nonvegetarians do. Even reducing meat intake has a protective effect.

What are the negative effects of not eating meat? ›

Vitamin Deficiencies

However, iodine, zinc, and vitamin B12 are hard to come by when you leave meat, seafood, and dairy products out of your meals. Without these nutrients, you can suffer from goiters, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of taste and smell, and even neurological damage.

Which gender is more vegetarian? ›

Across Western societies, women are twice as likely as men to be vegan or vegetarian [18–20]. Men and women differ in their attitudes to meat consumption and in their preferences for plant products. The differences in food preferences between the sexes are observed already in childhood.

Does being vegetarian change your face? ›

Dr. Pam Benito, another dermatologist, told Bustle: “Breakouts and skin changes aren't uncommon for people transitioning to a vegan diet … if you do get acne after cutting animal products out of your diet, give your body a few weeks to adjust to your new eating style and you might see it clear up on its own.”

Why do meat eaters age faster? ›

Meat causes insulin resistance.

The researchers found that fish, beef, cheese, and eggs had larger insulin responses per gram than many carbohydrate foods. The scientific fact that meat is insulinogenic is rarely mentioned and may contribute to aging.

Do vegetarians get sick easily? ›

The study concluded that, “Vegetarians have twice as many allergies as big meat-eaters do (30.6% to 16.7%) and they showed 166% higher cancer rates (4.8% to 1.8%).

Do vegetarians poop more or less? ›

It's true: Vegans poop more. A University of Oxford study of 20,000 people found that vegans poop more than vegetarians who poop more than meat eaters.

Do vegetarians have better breath? ›

The Diet Factor

Protein-rich foods that get stuck in teeth crevices attract the bacteria around the tongue and mouth that contribute to bad breath. Following a vegetarian diet or reducing your meat intake will help prevent the build-up of bacteria, and therefore may help to avoid those unpleasant odors.

Was Albert Einstein a vegan or vegetarian? ›

Einstein was only a strict vegetarian for the last couple years of his life, decades after many of his most important scientific breakthroughs. There are countless records of Einstein eating meat, well into adulthood.

Do vegetarians have a higher IQ? ›

Among women, vegetarians have the mean childhood IQ of 108.0 while meat eaters have the mean childhood IQ of 100.7. Among men, vegetarians have the mean childhood IQ of 111.0 and meat eaters have the mean childhood IQ of 101.1, a 10-point difference!

What did Einstein say about vegetarianism? ›

Albert Einstein said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

What is vegan face? ›

Simply, vegan face is a name for a slack, wasted look that is caused by an absence of protein in your diet. The skin is dry, sallow and flaky. Protein literally props up the face: it makes it look plump (in a good way) and fresh-faced and wakeful.

Can fasting reverse aging? ›

The fountain of youth may be a myth, but you can turn to the next best option: the anti-aging impact of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting triggers multiple changes in your body that slow down aging by keeping cells and DNA healthy.

Do vegetarians have bigger babies? ›

Vegetarian diets during pregnancy are associated with small infant birth weight, but not a higher risk preterm birth or other medical complications, suggests a National Institutes of Health study. The smaller birth size may be attributable to less weight gain during pregnancy.

How long is the average person vegetarian? ›

We should expect them on average to be a bit shorter than the mean length of the most recent periods of vegetarianism (which we estimated to be 1.9–3.5 years). The more times someone switches their diet, the shorter we should expect each vegetarianism period to be.

Do vegetarians grow slower? ›

Vegetarian and meat-eating children have similar growth and nutrition but not weight, study finds. In terms of height and other nutritional measures, vegetarian children and non-vegetarian children are similar, a new study has found.

Do vegetarians have more health problems? ›

Vegetarians and vegans may have an increased risk of stroke

Compared with meat eaters: rates of heart disease (such as angina or heart attack) were 13% lower in pescatarians. rates of heart disease were 22% lower in vegetarians. rates of stroke were 20% higher among vegetarians.

Why are vegetarians calm? ›

Anxiety and stress.

People who avoid foods with arachidonic acid typically report a more positive mood and improved mental health.” One survey-based study found decreased rates of stress and anxiety in those eating a vegan vs. omnivorous diet, and that vegetarians had reported better mood than non-vegetarians.

Do vegetarians stay skinny? ›

Vegetarians tend to be slimmer and less extroverted than meat eaters, study finds. Summary: The less animal products someone consumes, the lower his body mass index on average and the less he tends to be extroverted.

What 3 foods Can you survive on? ›

  • Perfect Foods. (Image credit: XuRa (opens in new tab) | shutterstock (opens in new tab)) ...
  • Beans. (Image credit: USDA) ...
  • Kale. (Image credit: Justin Jernigan) ...
  • Cantaloupe. (Image credit: stock.xchng) ...
  • Berries. (Image credit: Ohio State University.) ...
  • Barley. (Image credit: USDA) ...
  • Seaweed. (Image credit: NOAA) ...
  • Fish.
8 Dec 2021

What to avoid eating to live longer? ›

Nutrition tips for foods and drinks to avoid
  • Reduce sugar. According to research , dietary sugar, dextrose, and high fructose corn syrup may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. ...
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. ...
  • Avoid sugary drinks. ...
  • Eat less red and processed meat. ...
  • Avoid processed foods.
8 Feb 2022

How can I look 10 years younger? ›

Skin brightening treatments, like Microdermabrasion, Light Peels, Micro Laser Peels, or the Clear & Brilliant Laser treatment all help patients to look 10 years younger or more, with just a few treatments. These treatments can be used in order to combat the signs of aging in the face, such as: Wrinkles. Age spots.

How can I look 10 years younger than my age naturally? ›

10 Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, Say Experts
  1. Maintain Good Posture.
  2. Don't Forget to Wear Sunscreen on Your Hands.
  3. Eat Anti-Aging Foods.
  4. Smile More.
  5. Exercise.
  6. Get A Good Night's Sleep.
  7. Take Care of Your Skin.
  8. Eat Lots of Veggies.
5 Sept 2021

What foods cause wrinkles? ›

  • Doughnuts and sugary pastries. They're packed with sugar, which Giancoli says may be linked to the development of wrinkles.
  • Hot dogs, bacon, and pepperoni. Processed meats are usually high in saturated fats and have nitrates in them. ...
  • Fatty meats. These are also high in saturated fats. ...
  • Alcohol.
22 Sept 2014

How do I look 20 years younger than my age? ›

19 Easy Ways to Look Younger, According to Experts
  1. Use a Moisturizer, Then Foundation. e.l.f. ...
  2. Try a Collagen-Based Face Cream. Elemis. ...
  3. Use a concealer for dark circles. Estée Lauder. ...
  4. Keep your eye makeup simple. Urban Decay. ...
  5. Curl those lashes. ULTA. ...
  6. Apply SPF Daily. Vichy. ...
  7. Take your time removing your makeup. Clinique.
4 Nov 2022

What fruit makes you look younger? ›

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are like little bundles of antioxidants. Those sweet, summery fruits you love so much fight off free radicals and battle destructive UV rays, which can be harmful to skin cells. They retain their helpful nutrients even when frozen, so step up your smoothie game!

What can I drink to look younger? ›

6 anti-ageing drinks that you should be sipping
  • Water. Let's start with the obvious one: water. ...
  • Grapefruit juice. Start off your mornings with a refreshing glass of pink grapefruit juice. ...
  • Green tea. ...
  • Beetroot juice. ...
  • Milk. ...
  • Cocoa.
12 Feb 2020

Is it healthier to be a vegetarian? ›

Reasons for following a vegetarian diet are varied but include health benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Are vegetarians the healthiest? ›

Plant-based diets are healthier than diets where meat is consumed, whether measured by the occurrence of heart disease, cancer, or death. These benefits are likely because of both the avoidance of meat and the predominance of dietary vegetables and fruits.

What happens to your body if you stop eating meat? ›

"If meat is simply removed and not substituted, the consumer is at risk of iron or B12 deficiency, anemia, and muscle wasting," Levy-Wollins explains.

Is vegetarian Good For Brain? ›

Studies suggest a plant-based diet can support cognitive health and protect against dementia, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Be sure you're getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and other nutrients critical for cognitive health, and avoid sugar, processed foods and high levels of fat.

Are most vegetarians skinny? ›

Vegetarians tend to be slimmer and less extroverted than meat eaters, study finds. Summary: The less animal products someone consumes, the lower his body mass index on average and the less he tends to be extroverted.

Why are vegan kids shorter? ›

Children who followed a raw vegan diet overall consumed calories, calcium, and Vitamin D well below the recommended amounts which may have accounted for a slower growth (6). We know that these nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D are essential for maintaining normal bone growth throughout childhood.

Do vegetarians have stronger bones? ›

Recent research shows a plant-based diet can be associated with lower bone mineral density and increased fracture risk. “Veganism is a global trend with strongly increasing numbers of people worldwide adhering to a purely plant-based diet,” said Christian Muschitz, M.D., of St.

Do vegetarians have better blood? ›

There were no significant differences between blood type and the changes that resulted from the vegan diet. After 16 weeks on the low fat vegan diet, there were no statistically significant differences in the average change in body weight between the blood type groups.

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