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vegan diet & medicine

A vegan diet is linked to a lower risk of heart disease

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and fiber is linked to a lower risk of heart disease (37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).

Well-planned vegan diets generally include all these foods in amounts higher than the standard Western diet.

Observational studies comparing vegans with vegetarians and non-vegetarians report that vegans may benefit from up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure (40Trusted Source).

Vegans may also have a lower risk of dying from heart disease, though more studies are needed to understand the relationship (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source).

What’s more, several randomized controlled studies report that vegan diets are much more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels than the diets they are compared with (11Trusted Source, 12, 42Trusted Source).

This may be particularly beneficial to heart health, since reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels may reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 46% (43Trusted Source).

A well-balanced vegan diet includes plenty of whole grains and nuts, both of which are good for your heart (44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Vegan diets may benefit heart health by significantly reducing the risk factors that contribute to heart disease.

Lower risk of diabetes complications

In general, a vegan diet is thought to lower the risk of complications for people with type 2 diabetes (18Trusted Source).

People with diabetes who substitute plant protein for meat may reduce their risk of poor kidney function, but more research is needed on this topic (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).

What’s more, several studies report that a vegan diet may help to relieve pain caused by peripheral neuropathy, a common condition in people with diabetes (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source). But more evidence is needed before experts can confirm that this approach is effective.

SUMMARY

Vegan diets may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. They are also particularly effective at reducing blood sugar levels and may help prevent further medical issues from developing.

A vegan diet can reduce pain from arthritis

A few studies have reported that a vegan diet has positive effects in people with different types of arthritis.

One small study randomly assigned people with arthritis to either continue eating their omnivorous diet or switch to a whole food, plant-based vegan diet for 6 weeks (46Trusted Source).

Those on the vegan diet reported higher energy levels and better general functioning than those who didn’t change their diet (46Trusted Source).

Several other studies suggest a vegan diet may help improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including pain, joint swelling, and morning stiffness, but the relationship needs further investigation (47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source).

The vegan diet’s higher antioxidant, probiotic, and fiber content, as well as its lack of certain trigger foods, could be responsible for these benefits (47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Vegan diets based on antioxidant-rich whole foods may significantly decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Going vegan may protect against certain cancers

According to the World Health Organization, at least one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet (23Trusted Source).

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