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Want to decrease your chances for chronic disease? Researchers found that a vegetarian diet does just that.

Those who eat a vegetarian diet have a lower risk for chronic diseases, which ultimately translates into longer, healthier living. Dr. Mark Reeves

Patricia Kelikani, Health Journalist (Co-host): Ever crave a juicy steak or tender serving of filet mignon? Well, you may be better off craving something other than red meat.

Dr. Mark Reeves, Surgical Oncologist (Co-host): A team of researchers at Loma Linda University Health have been investigating lifestyle and health for nearly 60 years in what’s known as the Adventist Health Studies. What they found is those who eat a vegetarian diet have a lower risk for chronic diseases, which ultimately translates into longer, healthier living.

Dr. Michael Orlich , Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine: In our study, the vegetarians compared to the non-vegetarians do have a lower risk of chronic disease, a lower risk of high blood pressure, lower risk of high cholesterol, a lower risk of diabetes and are less obese and a lower risk of dying from heart disease ultimately.

DR. REEVES: The researchers recently discovered that vegetarians are 22 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancers—the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Vegetarians are 22 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancers. Dr. Mark Reeves

KELIKANI: So how can you start eating a vegetarian diet and experience the lifestyle benefits? If giving up meat entirely is too much, why not reconsider how often you eat meat? For example, try eating only fish, or eat other meats only once a week to experience similar health benefits associated with a vegetarian lifestyle.

The second tip is to eat fewer refined foods like sugar, desserts, snack foods and fast food meals.

DR. REEVES: Instead we should eat more whole grains and natural foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts.

DR. OLRICH: The closer you get to some kind of natural state, growing your own garden, shopping at a local farmer's market. That can be very helpful.

DR. REEVES: If you commit to following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of lowering your risk for chronic disease and living 6 to 9 years longer.

KELIKANI: There’s your tip for the day on how you can live healthier, longer.

Researcher Biography

Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD is a physician and health researcher at Loma Linda University. He studied medicine at the University of Michigan and completed his PhD in Epidemiology at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health. He is board certified in Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine.  He is an investigator with the Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2), a large NIH-funded study, primarily investigating the relationship of various aspects of diet to major health outcomes, particularly cancers and mortality. He maintains a small clinical practice in Preventive Medicine at the Center for Health Promotion, Loma Linda University. He also serves as Program Director for the university’s Preventive Medicine Residency.

Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD

Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD