Thank you for visiting nature. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. Western societies notice an increasing interest in plant-based eating patterns such as vegetarian and vegan, yet potential effects on the body and brain are a matter of debate. Therefore, we systematically reviewed existing human interventional studies on putative effects of a plant-based diet on the metabolism and cognition, and what is known about the underlying mechanisms. In addition, little is known, based on interventional studies about cognitive effects linked to plant-based diets. In sum, the increasing interest for plant-based diets raises the opportunity for developing novel preventive and therapeutic strategies against obesity, eating disorders and related comorbidities. Still, putative effects of plant-based diets on brain health and cognitive functions as well as the underlying mechanisms remain largely unexplored and new studies need to address these questions. Western societies notice an increasing interest in plant-based eating patterns such as avoiding meat or fish or fully excluding animal products vegetarian or vegan, see Fig.
The Harvard-based Women’s Health Study found a similar correlation between eating red meat especially processed meats, such as bacon and hot dogs and diabetes risk, after adjusting for BMI, total calorie intake, and exercise. Weaver CM. Science , — Tools Appl. For these reasons, physicians looking for cost-effective interventions to improve health outcomes are becoming more involved in helping their patients adopt healthier lifestyles. Serotonin, tryptophan metabolism and the brain-gut-microbiome axis. Cleaner living: Plant-friendly is planet-friendly. In summarizing the published research, Fraser 11 noted that, compared with other vegetarians, vegans are thinner, have lower total and LDL cholesterol, and modestly lower blood pressure.
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People choose a vegetarian or vegan diet for a number of reasons. Research over many years has linked plant-based diets to lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers as compared with diets high in meat and other animal products. Dietary guidelines and recommendations from nutrition experts reflect this, encouraging the adoption of diets such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet that are heavy on fruits and vegetables and restrict consumption of red meat. Plant-based diets carry some risk of inadequate protein, vitamin, and mineral intake. But these risks are readily overcome by choosing the right vegetarian foods and, when necessary, supplements. For example, soy, quinoa, and nuts are good sources of protein, and tofu, lentils, and spinach are good sources of iron.