Vegan diet could protect against heart disease

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Researchers from New York University have found that a vegan diet may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Coronary artery disease is a type of heart disease that is caused by the build-up of plaque in the heart’s major blood vessels.

This can cause the coronary arteries to narrow, which can limit blood flow to the heart. In some cases, it can lead to chest pain or a heart attack.

The researchers found that a vegan diet, which only includes plant foods and avoids all foods from animal sources, may help lower the risk of heart disease.

To test this, they compared the health benefits of a vegan diet to the American Heart Association-Recommended Diet for heart disease patients.

The American Heart Association-Recommended Diet includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy sources of protein, liquid non-tropical vegetable oils, minimally processed foods, minimized intake of added sugars, foods prepared with little or no salt, and limited or no alcohol intake.

The study involved 100 people with coronary artery disease who were split into two groups.

One group followed a vegan diet for eight weeks, while the other group followed the American Heart Association-Recommended Diet.

The researchers then compared the levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) in the two groups. hsCRP is a marker of risk for major heart outcomes in coronary artery disease.

The researchers found that the vegan diet led to a large 32% lower hsCRP when compared with the American Heart Association diet. The results were consistent even after adjustments were made for age, race, baseline waist circumference, diabetes, and prior heart attacks. Additionally, the researchers found that there was a 13% reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL C) with the vegan diet compared to the American Heart Association diet.

The researchers concluded that a vegan diet may help reduce heart disease risk in people with coronary artery disease.

However, it is important to note that there are many variations to the vegetarian diet and it is important to ensure that all necessary nutrients are being consumed.

As always, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.

What to eat to prevent heart disease

A heart-healthy diet typically includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (such as fish, poultry, and beans), low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats (such as those found in nuts, seeds, and olive oil). Here are some specific examples:

Fruits and vegetables: Aim to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, as they contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are good for heart health. Some examples include berries, leafy greens, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Whole grains: Choose whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat bread and pasta, and oats instead of refined grains like white bread and rice.

Lean proteins: Fish, skinless chicken or turkey, legumes (such as beans and lentils), and tofu are good sources of lean protein.

Low-fat dairy: Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.

Healthy fats: Incorporate healthy fats into your diet with foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. These foods contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can help improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Limit saturated and trans fats: Avoid or limit foods high in saturated and trans fats, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, fried foods, and processed snacks.

Limit added sugars: Choose foods and drinks with little to no added sugars, such as water, tea, and fruit instead of sugary drinks and snacks.

By incorporating these foods into your diet and limiting unhealthy choices, you can help prevent heart disease and improve overall health.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about how drinking milk affects risks of heart disease and cancer, and results showing 1 in 8 people with severe COVID-19 suffer from heart inflammation.

The research is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and was conducted by Binita Shah et al.

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