Eating a Plant-Based Diet Could Cut Heart Disease Risk by Almost Half

This news may not be a shocker, but someone always seems surprised. It turns out that those of us who go vegetarian or vegan have much healthier hearts than meat eaters. In fact, those who consume a plant-based diet reduce their risk of heart disease and heart failure by a whopping 42 percent.

That statistic comes from a new study conducted by the American Heart Association. This finding only confirms what other heart experts and cardiologists have been saying for a long time. Crappy foods clog your arteries and damage your heart — and that includes meat.

Remember Dr. Kim Williams, a past president of the American College of Cardiology? He went vegan in 2003 when he realized the profound effect that plant-based diets had on his patients. How about other medical experts like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John MacDougall, Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Neal Barnard? They all understand that the easiest way to a healthy heart by adopting a plant-based diet.

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Photo Credit: Igor Miske/Unsplash

Dr. Kyla Lara of New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham conducted the research. In November of 2017, Lara presented the team’s findings at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California.

The AHA study analyzed information collected for the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke, an observational study of risk factors for stroke in adults over age 45. It followed 15,559 people who tracked what they ate from five dietary categories:

  • Convenience: red meats, pastas, fried potatoes, fast foods
  • Plant-based:  dark, leafy vegetables, fruits, beans, fish — don’t ask why fish is part of the plant-based category, it just is.
  • Sweets: desserts, breads, sweet breakfast foods, chocolate, candy
  • Southern: eggs, fried food, organ meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Alcohol/salads: salad dressings, green, leafy vegetables, tomatoes, wine, butter, liquor

During the approximately eight years of data collection, 300 participants went to the hospital for reasons related to heart disease.

Researchers found that those who ate primarily from the plant-based category experienced the lowest risk for heart disease — and by a significant degree. A plant-based diet reduced their risk by an impressive 42 percent.

The study also found that drinking coffee may be associated with a decreased risk of developing heart failure or having a stroke.

“Eating a diet mostly of dark green leafy plants, fruits, beans, whole grains and fish, while limiting processed meats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugars is a heart-healthy lifestyle and may specifically help prevent heart failure if you don’t already have it,” Lara explained in an AHA press release.

Where health is concerned, there’s no good reason to keep eating meat. After all, there are better protein sources. And the planet surely could use a change to the farming practices that we use to produce meat.

Want the bottom line? Stop eating meat. Start eating veggies — if only for your heart health.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

166 comments

hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD20 days ago

tyfs

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Olivia M
Olivia M20 days ago

thank you

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Renata B
Renata B27 days ago

Sorry, I clicked "Post" too quickly: there is a difference between being vegan and having a plant-based diet. The former is based on an ethical principle and it is much more than a diet. It includes not wearing animal products for example or using products tested on animals. A plant-based diet is just that, but it is better than nothing.

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Renata B
Renata B27 days ago

I still believe that becoming vegan is an ethical choice: for the animal and the environment. But seeing our health improved and protected is a wonderful side-effect.

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D28 days ago

It has worked for me.

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Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you for the post.

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson5 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson5 months ago

ty

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Fiona O
Fiona Ogilvie6 months ago

Absolutely.....Go vegan for our health, the health of our planet and the health of our animals friends.

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Veronica B
Veronica B6 months ago

Thanks for the good info!

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