How to Become Vegetarian to Prevent Heart Disease

By Katharine Paljug @kpaljug
February 01, 2018
Man and woman making salad --- Image by © Juice Images/Corbis

Do you know the difference between vegan and vegetarian? Learn how to become vegetarian or how to become vegan, and why a plant-based diet is good for your heart.

The research is in: eating meat is associated with greater likelihood of dangerous heart disease.

Research published by the American Heart Association found that eating processed meat, such as bacon or sausage, is linked to higher rates of coronary heart disease and diabetes. Other studies have found that eating red or processed meats contributes to higher mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Eating a plant-based diet, by contrast, can actively help lower your likelihood of developing heart disease. In a collaborative analysis of five different studies involving over 70,000 participants, researchers found that vegetarians were 34 percent less likely to die from ischemic heart disease than those who ate meat. Even limiting meat consumption provided a benefit: those who ate meat “occasionally” lowered their risk by 20 percent.


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In the Adventist Health Study 2, which followed more than 73,000 adults, researchers found that vegetarians and vegans were significantly less likely to die from heart disease than those who ate meat.

How significant?

Research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2017 found that those who followed a plant-based diet and avoided meat (but not necessarily fish) reduced their risk of heart failure by nearly 50 percent.

Becoming vegetarian or vegan, it turns out, could save your life.

What is vegetarian?

A vegetarian is a person who does not eat any meat or fish. This includes poultry, such as chicken, as well as red meats, such as beef or pork. Most vegetarians do eat animal products, such as dairy or eggs, though sometimes the term lacto-ovo vegetarian is used to specify this.


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April 09, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN