Vegetarians are 12% less likely to die than those who eat meat due to lower blood pressure, a recent study of 70,000 people has found.
Vitamin D has been dubbed the "sunshine vitamin"
The data showed that due to chemicals found in red meat there could be an increased risk of high blood pressure and cancer from eating meat.
The research was published by JAMA Internal Medicine and analysed people over a six-year period to assess the differences between vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters. Males benefitted more than females by choosing a vegetarian diet
In the past vegetarian diets have been linked to a lower risk of blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease and diabetes. A previous study in 2009 suggested that vegetarians have a lower risk of developing cancer.
People who eat meat are also more likely to put on weight than those who eat a vegetarian diet according to a Cancer Research UK study in 2006.
This latest study involved 74,308 men and women and was led by Michael Orlich from Loma Linda University in California.
The study observed all-cause and cause-specific mortality and found that vegetarians were more inclined to older, more highly educated and more likely to be married. As a group they also have a lower rate of smoking, drinking and a sedentary lifestyle.
The scientists believed that these factors may have made a difference to the results and that the evidence is not proven.
They said: “Some evidence suggests vegetarian dietary patterns may be associated with reduced mortality, but the relationship is not well established.
"These results demonstrate an overall association of vegetarian dietary patterns with lower mortality compared with the non-vegetarian dietary pattern.”
Some private medical insurance providers can offer rewards and vouchers if you are buying fruit and vegetables as part of your recommended diet.
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