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Health Benefits of Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets: Narrative Review
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Department of Environmental Medicine, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Rokietnicka Str. 8, 60-806 Poznań, Poland
Integrated Science Association (ISA), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Rokietnicka Str. 8, 60-806 Poznań, Poland
Piotr Rzymski   

1Department of Environmental Medicine, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Rokietnicka Str. 8, 60-806 Poznań, Poland 2Integrated Science Association (ISA), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Rokietnicka Str. 8, 60-806 Poznań, Poland
Submission date: 2022-09-05
Acceptance date: 2022-10-26
Online publication date: 2022-11-16
Publication date: 2022-11-16
Pol. J. Food Nutr. Sci. 2022;72(4):327–346
Diet is an important lifestyle factor influencing disease risk. Vegetarian and Mediterranean diets have their proponents and are promoted for various potential health benefits. Over the years, numerous cross-sectional and cohort studies and randomized clinical trials have been conducted to elucidate the relationship between the Mediterranean and vegetarian diet and cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, and other disease risks. More recently, research has been conducted to compare both diets directly. In this narrative review, we discuss the effects of vegetarian and Mediterranean diets on lipid profile, blood pressure, inflammation markers, body weight, risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, and chronic kidney disease, as well as their associations with gut microbiota and mental health. The paper also discusses the studies comparing vegetarian and Mediterranean diets and their health effects. It provides further evidence that both diets can be beneficial and advocates their promotion, especially in Westernized populations plagued by various chronic lifestyle-associated diseases. At the same time, the Mediterranean dietary model may appear to be a superior public health strategy, less prone to the risk of nutritional deficiencies and less challenging in implantation on a broader scale. However, further studies based on cross-over design and long-term observations are recommended to thoroughly compare vegetarian and Mediterranean diets and draw more firm conclusions on their effects on health.
This research received no external funding.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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