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The review notes that a healthy diet and lifestyle reduces the risk for a heart attack by percent, while medications can only reduce the risk by percent. Animal products are packed with saturated fat, cholesterol, heme iron, and environmental pollutants and can harm heart health. Around the globe, cardiovascular disease is responsible for 46 percent of non-communicable disease deaths, or
A plant-based diet is increasingly becoming recognized as a healthier alternative to a diet laden with meat. Atherosclerosis associated with high dietary intake of meat, fat, and carbohydrates remains the leading cause of mortality in the US. This condition results from progressive damage to the endothelial cells lining the vascular system, including the heart, leading to endothelial dysfunction. In addition to genetic factors associated with endothelial dysfunction, many dietary and other lifestyle factors, such as tobacco use, high meat and fat intake, and oxidative stress, are implicated in atherogenesis. Polyphenols derived from dietary plant intake have protective effects on vascular endothelial cells, possibly as antioxidants that prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein. Recently, metabolites of L-carnitine, such as trimethylamine-N-oxide, that result from ingestion of red meat have been identified as a potential predictive marker of coronary artery disease CAD. Metabolism of L-carnitine by the intestinal microbiome is associated with atherosclerosis in omnivores but not in vegetarians, supporting CAD benefits of a plant-based diet. Trimethylamine-N-oxide may cause atherosclerosis via macrophage activation. We suggest that a shift toward a plant-based diet may confer protective effects against atherosclerotic CAD by increasing endothelial protective factors in the circulation while reducing factors that are injurious to endothelial cells. The relative ratio of protective factors to injurious endothelial exposure may be a novel approach to assessing an objective dietary benefit from a plant-based diet.
Eating more plant-based foods can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease — that’s a win-win-win. Can you really improve your heart health by eating more plant-based foods? Research says yes. So maybe it’s time to start looking at all that colorful produce piled in bins at your local store as delicious medicine for your heart. Investigators have studied the relationship between plant-based food intake and various ailments in many, many studies. Spoiler alert: Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains wins. These are just a few key research findings. Switching up a carb, sugar and protein-heavy diet to one that’s rich in plant-based foods takes initiative and planning. But resolving to do better for your heart is a great first step.