The number of people cutting down on foods containing meat and dairy or eliminating these foods completely is rising. Interest in veganism hit an all-time high in 2020 and shows no signs of slowing down. For some, eliminating dairy, meat, and other animal products may seem like an extremely radical sacrifice. For others, however, the personal and moral benefits of such eating habits are an easy choice. For example, many of those who are passionate about animal rights and welfare see veganism as the only appropriate lifestyle. Another group sees the potential health benefits of such a diet as a no-brainer for adopting veganism.
When done with fidelity, veganism has been shown to promote weight loss, lower risks of certain cancers, and manage diabetes. One of the more significant health benefits of a vegan diet is the reduced risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. When consulting with the best cardiologist in Los Angeles and other areas, many doctors agree that vegan patients show improved heart scans and blood work in a few months. Let’s take a look at some reasons to go vegan for your heart health.
1. Less Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature and are found in meat and animal products like beef, butter, cheese, and high-fat dairy foods. The American Heart Association says that a diet containing high saturated fats can lead to high cholesterol and an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. It is recommended that a 2,000 calorie diet only have about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.
A vegan diet that consists mainly of grains, fruits, and vegetables is significantly lower in saturated fats. Additionally, many plant-based foods such as mayonnaise from a company like Only Plant Based! Foods can replace traditional items in your diet to help lower your intake of saturated fats. When you adopt a vegan diet heavily based on plant-based foods, you lower your risk of heart disease from saturated fats.
2. Cut Fatty Meats
Our bodies need a small amount of cholesterol to function properly. However, most healthy people make enough cholesterol on their own without adding it to their diets. Cholesterol is only found in animal-based fatty meat products and is non-existent in plant-based foods. High cholesterol is linked to a number of cardiovascular diseases. A vegan diet consisting of foods like avocados, olive oil, and nuts can reduce cholesterol in the blood.
3. Increased Fiber
A well-balanced plant-based diet will also increase the amount of fiber that you intake. Increased fiber is a way to reduce bad cholesterol in your body. Fiber interacts with cholesterol and helps remove it quickly from the body. Foods such as beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are all high in fiber. Cutting meats and increasing plant-based foods in the diet help increase fiber levels and decrease risks from high cholesterol.
4. Increased Omega-3s
Many plant-based foods such as pumpkin seeds, canola oil, and soybeans contain omega-3 fatty acids. High levels of omega-3s have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. They can also reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood. Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced in the body and must be introduced through your diet. Reducing meats and increasing foods with omega-3s has proven heart health benefits.
5. Beneficial Nutrients
A vegan diet can provide you with numerous nutrients that have proven to be heart-protective. Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants, plant sterols, phytochemicals, and potassium which are all believed to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. As an example, potassium helps reduce the effects of sodium in the body and can ultimately lead to lower blood pressure.
When done right, a vegan diet can introduce a wealth of good benefits for your heart and other areas of your body.