Veganism: Is It Good For My Heart?

In the last few years, people are choosing to go plant-based for various reasons, but  three big reasons are animals, the environment, and health. The adjustment period between changing food traditions for a new way of eating coupled with negativity from others can make the transition hard for some. But, if you’re trying to make big changes for your health, a vegetarian or vegan diet could be worth trying, even if it’s on certain days of the week.

There are two types of a vegetarian diet: lacto-ovo and strict (or vegan). What we call vegetarians tend to fall into the lacto-ovo category: they eat only non-animal products (fruits, veggies, grains, and nuts), and do also eat animal byproducts, like cheese and eggs. Vegans, however, don’t eat any animal products or byproducts some find it difficult to get all the nutrients they need (especially if you’re loading up on processed food like Oreos, over real, naturally occuring foods).

The truth is: it is more complicated than just cutting out meat or dairy and replacing it with processed alternatives. Following a plant-based, vegetarian diet that is full of fruits and vegetables may actually be one of the best ways to feed your body the nutrients it needs. Plant foods are loaded with nutrients to support our health.

According to WebMD and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. It goes on to say that vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic disease. If that doesn’t make you want to lower your meat intake, we don’t know what will.

If you’re trying to support your heart health, cutting out processed deli meats is a great first step to take. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet can also help support your health. Some people choose to avoid eating meat just one day a week, then increase their vegetarian days as they learn new, more heart-healthy recipes. Talk to your physician about your heart health and what you can do to improve your health. If you want to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at (407) 767-8554.

Posted in: Healthy Living

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