Good news to all the vegetarians out there! According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), people who include a plant-based diet in their meal are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease in comparison to those who consume animal meat and refined carbohydrates more often .
Researchers observed 12,168 middle-aged people for over three decades along with their eating habits. During the study, around 5,436 of them died, out of which, 1,565 died from heart-related diseases.
According to the study, it was found that the heavy intake of animal-based products and refined carbs increases the risk of heart disease by 31% - 32% and 18% - 25% in the case of other diseases.
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Also, people who are vegetarian, but didn't consume plant-based meals are 16% more likely to get heart disease than the participants who mostly consumed plant-based meals.
"Plant-based diets seem to be rising in popularity, and our study provides more evidence suggesting that consuming a plant-based diet can be good for your heart health. People should ensure that they are consuming enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit their intake of red and processed meat," said Casey Rebholz, senior team member of the study and a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore,
Researchers looked at 4 types of diets for the amount and type of plant content. The categories were; an overall plant-based diet, healthy green vegetables, an overall vegetarian diet, and unhealthy plant-based meals like potatoes.
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People who followed one of the three healthy plant-based diets had less than one serving of processed meat a day. People with an unhealthy plant-based diet consumed 1.2 servings of processed meat a day.
It was found that eating more healthy plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods can decrease the risk of heart disease. Also, in the case of people who were consuming an unhealthy plant-based diet, the result wasn't good either.
However, the study had some limitations as the participants had to recall and report on what they had on the previous days.