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Are Vegetarians At Lower Risk For Heart Disease?

heart disease vegetarian

​The second reason In the recent article, entitled "10 Reasons To Eat Vegetarian" is: Reduce risk of heart disease, because a vegetarian diet is high in fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and plant-based proteins have been linked to significant reductions in heart disease.

Have you been thinking about going vegetarian? There has been a lot of focus recently on what you can do for the environment by going meatless more often.

With the majority of the world's crops going to feed livestock and more rainforests being bulldozed in order to meet that demand, meat is becoming less attractive to many.

However, if the environment isn't enough to change your mind about meat, maybe your health will be.

​Research Shows A Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

​According to research from the University of Oxford, your risk of heart disease can be reduced by as much as a third by going vegetarian.

 (Crowe, et al

Additionally, your risk of death or hospitalization due to heart issues is also reduced by almost 33%.

The study itself focused on the differences in heart disease rates between meat eaters and vegetarians.

With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the US (and the majority of other developed countries) this is an important subject to tackle.

What the researchers found, in addition to the results notes above is that eating a vegetarian diet reduces the likelihood of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which of course, is an important part of preventing heart disease.

The Oxford University study included over 40,000 participants and less than half of them were vegetarian.

It's typical for studies of this kind to include fewer vegetarians than meat eaters, which was funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council.

The Risks For A Heart Disease Between Meat Eaters And Vegetarians

​The research teams used precise approximations of the risks between meat eaters and vegetarians.

The researchers found the eating a vegetarian diet clearly reduced the risk of heart disease when compared to meat eaters.

Controls were put in place, too, for alcohol, smoking, education, physical fitness and activity, age, as well as socioeconomic backgrounds.

This study spanned the course of decades, with questionnaires given some time in the 1990s. Participants were quizzed on their alcohol consumption, smoking habits, exercise, and diet.

Volunteers gave blood so that cholesterol levels could be checked and had their blood pressure taken, too.

The researchers monitored their participants until 2009. The vegetarians experienced lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and again, this is believed to be the reason that vegetarians have such a low rate of heart disease compared to meat eaters.

Additionally, vegetarians usually have a lower BMI and are less likely to develop diabetes.

Heart Disease Vegetarian barbecue


​There is an important component in achieving a healthy vegetarian diet, however. One of the biggest issues with vegetarian diets is that many people who follow them don't do so properly.

You may have run into these types, those who call themselves vegetarians but don't actually eat vegetables or fruit.

You can get the necessary protein your body requires through a variety of other food sources.

Additionally, the fatty acids your body and brain needs from fish can also be found in plant-based foods.

There is nothing that meat provides you with that you can't find elsewhere, it's simply all about getting enough of it – WebMD suggests a diet packed with whole grains, dark leafy greens, and plenty of fruits and vegetables is sufficient to maintain health.


If you're not sure about cutting meat out entirely you can reduce your meat intake gradually – go meat-free at least one (or one extra) day a week. 

There are plenty of meat substitutes available, so even if you miss the texture, taste, and feel of meat – you can get something fairly close to it in the aisles of your grocery store.

Just be sure to check the ingredients to ensure there aren't hidden salts, fats, and other additives.

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