By-Christina Sandra Singh
A detailed review has been conducted by researchers to witness and compare the impact of consuming vegetarian and non-vegetarian food on cardiometabolic and other diseases. It has been believed for a long time that food items that come from less or no animal source (vegetarian) are low in nutrients and might not make the consumer healthier compared to non-vegetarian food. But the rise in technology and research supported the belief that a plant-based diet contains all the nutritional requirements a consumer needs, and helps in lowering the risks of various health issues.
This review, therefore, consisted of various studies analyzing the different types of vegetarian diets like Western vegetarian diets, vegetarian diets influenced by religious beliefs, and other diet patterns. The diseases (non-communicable) examined in this review included—hypertension, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular, cardiometabolic, cerebrovascular diseases, and type-2 diabetes.
It was found out through the results of many of the studies that consuming vegetarian food compared to non-vegetarian was beneficial to lower the risk of various food-related diseases and issues like obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, hypercholesteremia, inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin sensitivity, and health diseases, and ultimately reducing early health cases. Vegetarian diets containing low-fat foods facilitated higher weight loss and improvement in glycemic index than non-vegetarian meals. While one controlled study illuminated about improvements in coronary atherosclerosis with consumption of plant-based food, most studies reported health benefits in consumers like lowering of blood pressure, lowering of high-density lipoprotein levels and cholesterol levels.
Vegetarian food meals provide high fibre, complex carbohydrate, many micronutrients, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and other beneficial elements
However, the non-uniformity of the results due to different patterns of consuming vegetarian diets, the cultural and ethnic variations, and the variations in the methodology across the conducted studies makes it difficult to form a definite opinion or give a clear answer whether it is better to consume vegetarian food to combat diseases or not.