LONDON: This should make a majority of Indians happy.
The risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease has been found to be 32% lower in vegetarians, than people who eat meat and fish.
New insight brought out on Wednesday by researchers at the University of Oxford through the largest study ever conducted in the UK comparing rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians suggests that avegetarian diet can reduce risk of heart disease by up to a third.
The researchers found that vegetarians had significantly lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels than non-vegetarians, which is thought to be the main reason behind their reduced risk of heart disease.
The new findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also showed that vegetarians typically had lower body mass indices (BMI) and fewer cases of diabetes as a result of their diets.
In India, a significant chunk of the population are vegetarians. Also, more youngsters are also turning to a vegan diet.
According to India's health ministry, the leading cause of deaths in India among non-communicable diseases is cardiovascular disease (29.89 lakh).
Dr Francesca Crowe, lead author of the study at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford said, "Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease."
The analysis looked at almost 45,000 volunteers from England and Scotland enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study, of whom 34% were vegetarian.