For adults both young and old, eating a nutritious, plant-based diet may lower the risk for heart attacks and other types of cardiovascular disease, two new studies show.
Both studies published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association. One found eating a plant-centered diet in young adulthood lowered the risk in middle age for heart attack, stroke, heart failure and several other cardiovascular conditions. A second found eating plant-based foods that lower cholesterol levels reduced the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women.
While the research underscores the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables, it doesn’t suggest strict vegetarianism is necessary to reap heart-healthy benefits.
“People can choose among plant foods that are as close to natural as possible, not highly processed,” lead author of the young adult study, Yuni Choi, said in a news release. Choi is a postdoctoral researcher in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis. “We think that individuals can include animal products in moderation from time to time, such as non-fried poultry, non-fried fish, eggs and low-fat dairy.”