A study has revealed that vegetarians are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that vegetarians generally have fewer health issues that contribute to heart disease.
Vegetarians who participated in the study were found to have healthier body weight, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Those three things, according to doctors, are contributing factors that can lead to heart disease that results in death.
As reported by BBC, Dr. Venessa Crowe discusses the relation between diet and heart health:
“The main message is that diet is an important determinant of heart health, I’m not advocating that everyone eats a vegetarian diet. The diets are quite different. Vegetarians probably have a lower intake of saturated fat so it makes senses there is a lower risk of heart disease.”
Doctors caution that a strictly vegetarian diet, while decreasing risk of heart disease, may need to be supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals that are found in meat. As explained by the American Heart Association, vegetarians should make sure they are including or supplementing their diet with protein, iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, and zinc.
The American Heart Association also reminds vegetarians to make sure they are eating enough of the foods that help maintain energy levels.
While vegetarians are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease, vegetarian meals can contain large amounts of salt and saturated fats. Foods high in sugar and refined grains should be consumed in moderation. It is suggested that a balanced, healthy diet is important whether it includes meat or not.