A study was conducted recently to determine the effect of diet on the levels of biomarkers in the body. Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more popular over the years and people have different reasons for switching to a plant based diet. However most of them go for it due to its health benefits.
Studies had showed that the risk of colorectal and prostate cancers were less in people who included lesser animal products in their diet. A vegetarian diet has been proved to reduce cholesterol and helped in boosting weight loss. The vegetarians are always at an advantage considering certain factors. They do not have red or processed meat both of which are found to increase cancer risk. Also since they do not have the choice of meat, they tend to consume more fruits, vegetables and nuts all of which are high in nutrients and fiber.
Vegetarians and vegans have more levels of carotenoids and flavanoids in their bodies which have anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Their blood serum contains higher levels of lignans and isoflavones which protect against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The scientists wanted to find out if the dietary choices made any difference in the level of disease fighting markers in the fat tissue, blood and urine. In order to determine this 840 participants from five different dietary categories were recruited. The first category was vegans who do not consume animal products. The second was lacto-ovo vegetarians who did not consume meat or fish but consumed dairy and eggs more than once a month. Third category was pesco-vegetarians who did not consume meat but had fish once per month or more. The fourth was semi-vegetarians who consumed meat less than once every week but more than once every month. The last was non vegetarians who consumed meat at least once every week.
The study revealed that carotenoids, isoflavones and enterolactone levels were higher in vegans followed by vegetarians. Vegans also showed the highest levels of omega3 and lowest fatty acid levels. Fayth Miles, the lead study author said that results of semi vegetarians and non vegetarians were almost similar. Thus the study concluded that the vegans had the highest disease preventing bioactive markers. Having a proper understanding of the biomarker profile will help to understand the link between variations in levels and the risk of diseases.