Recent research shows that healthy plant-based diets may reduce the risk of heart disease and are better for heart health than standard low-fat diets.
The benefits of a vegetarian diet are many, especially when it comes to heart health. Filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and healthy unsaturated fats, eating plant-based can help fight heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Evidence has long supported a plant-based and low-fat diet to help protect the heart from cardiovascular disease (CVD). newly study Posted in American Dietetic Association which followed more than 4,700 people over 30 years and found that a plant-based diet was associated with a lower long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. Both a plant-based and low-fat diet have been linked to lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
The study has received a lot of attention, showing that plant-based diets can lower LDL cholesterol and may be better at protecting against cardiovascular disease than standard low-fat diets. In the study, the researchers looked at data from the Study of Coronary Risk Development in Young Adults, specifically examining participants’ diets, examining whether they ate a low-fat diet or a plant-based diet, as well as the overall quality of their meals. In the three-decade study, researchers determined that an increase in the intake of “nutrition-rich plant foods” and a decrease in the intake of less healthy plant foods (refined foods) and high-fat meats were associated with lower LDL cholesterol levels. A low-fat diet has also been linked to lower levels of bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol,” contributes to the risk of cardiovascular disease. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol helps protect against cardiovascular disease by removing free cholesterol from the bloodstream.
The researchers also determined nutrient levels in the participants’ diets and used data over 32 years of follow-up, which documented the number of cases of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke. The risk reduction was greater in those who followed a plant-based diet, leading to the conclusion that a nutritionally sound plant-based diet is beneficial for cardiovascular health, perhaps even more than a low-fat diet. Rather than focusing on a single ingredient or food item, examining the diet in general is more straightforward. In fact, many of the healthy plant-based food sources that contain fat — avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds — may be heart-protective, which may explain the benefits of plant-based eating.
Read more about the study presented at the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association over here.
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