Being vegetarian reduces the risk of death or hospital admission from heart disease by almost one-third, a major study has shown.

Avoiding meat and fish was associated with significantly better heart health among almost 45,000 British adults.

In total 34% of participants were vegetarian, the majority of whom were women.

Over an average follow-up period of 11.6 years, scientists recorded 1066 hospital admissions due to heart disease, and 169 deaths.

Vegetarians were 32% less likely to be included in these figures than non-vegetarians.

This was after adjusting for a range of factors that could have influenced the result, such as age, sex, physical activity, smoking, education and social background.