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The latest research presented at the International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition at Loma Linda University in February 2018 shows that vegan and vegetarian diets are consistently linked with health benefits. Based on multiple cohort studies presented at the conference, including the Adventist Health Study 2, EPIC Oxford study, and the Tzu Chi Health Study 1, these diet patterns were linked with lower levels of blood pressure, "bad" (LDL) cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and BMI (body mass index); and lower risks for developing cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, kidney stones, gout, and cataracts.

Interestingly, the latest research on plant-based diets has explored the effects of quality within vegetarian diet patterns -- essentially a highly processed (refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugary products) diet vs. a pattern based on whole, unprocessed foods (whole grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds). As you might expect, the latter diet pattern showed greater benefits. There's never been a better time to consider a plant-based diet, and the more it focuses on whole plant foods, the better.

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(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com.)

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