To Your Health
December, 2023 (Vol. 17, Issue 12)
Go Vegan for Heart Health
By Editorial Staff
With nearly one in five deaths in the U.S. attributable to heart disease, everyone needs to take heart health seriously. Fortunately, simple lifestyle behaviors can help keep your heart – and you – healthy for a lifetime. Let's start with diet; what you eat can have a profound effect on the health of your heart, not to mention your entire body.
Case in point: a new study that suggests adopting a vegan diet can improve cardiovascular health. The study used a unique subject group: identical twins, with one twin per pair following a vegan diet and the other following an omnivore diet. All participants were free of cardiovascular disease at the start of the eight-week study.
The vegan diet was, as vegan diets are, entirely plant based, including no meat or animal products whatsoever. The omnivore diet included, among other foods, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy and other foods derived from animals. Both diets limited added sugars and refined starches, and included vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fruits.
Researchers weighed participants and evaluated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – considered the dangerous type when it comes to your heart – at three time points: baseline, four weeks in and at eight weeks. By the end of the study, vegans saw a decline in LDL cholesterol from 110.7 mg/dL to 95.5 mg/dL; for omnivores, LDL cholesterol only dropped from 118.5 mg/dL to 116.1 mg/dL. Vegans also lost more weight and experienced a greater decline in fasting insulin.
Haven't tried a vegan diet before? Give it a try and see what you're missing!