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Vegan Diet Is Best for Avoiding Disease, Study Says

Heart health when you eat more of them, an excess of saturated fats such as those found in butter and bacon grease could have the opposite effect .

The researchers studied five different dietary patterns: vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian (eating eggs and dairy but no meat or fish), pesco-vegetarian (eating fish but no meat), semi-vegetarian (eating meat less than once per week) and non-vegetarian (eating meat more than once per week).

Vegans had the best-looking panels across the board with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids — the healthy fats found in walnuts, chia seeds and fatty fish — and antioxidants. Vegans also had the lowest levels of saturated fats. Lacto-ovo vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians had more antioxidants in their samples than frequent meat-eaters, but the difference was slightly smaller.

The researchers hypothesized that these notable differences were linked to a higher consumption of healthy, plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, soy, nuts and seeds.