According to a study, vegan and vegetarian diets are associated with reduced cholesterol levels.
The study, published in the European Heart Journal, examined 30 studies completed between 1982 and 2022 to learn whether there was a true correlation between levels of cholesterol and different fats and proteins as well as vegetarian, vegan, and omnivorous diets.
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disorders including heart disease are the main cause of mortality globally. The authors claimed that this is why.
The studies, which spanned 10 nations, including the US, and roughly 2,400 people, ranged in length from 3 weeks to 18 months. The participants’ ages ranged, on average, from 28 to 67.
While some of the studies focused on individuals with no underlying medical issues, others examined people with heart-related illnesses including obesity and high blood pressure.
Vegetarians and vegans had a 7 percent decrease in total cholesterol levels during the course of the study when compared to those who consumed meat.
Additionally, “bad” LDL cholesterol plummeted by 10 percent on average in the plant based participants, while protein levels, which aid in transporting fat and cholesterol throughout the body, decreased by 14 percent.
One of the study’s authors, Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, shared via BBC News: “That corresponds to a third of the effect of a cholesterol-lowering statin [pill] — so that’s really substantial.”
According to the study’s authors, plant-based meals often contain lower amounts of saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol, which may have an impact on people’s blood cholesterol levels in general.
Vegetarians and vegans still need to ensure that they get enough minerals like vitamin B12.
The American Heart Association recommends eating less red meat to control blood pressure and lower the risk of heart attack and strokes.
Cutting on red meat is good for one’s heart, but eliminating it entirely is not required, according to Tracy Parker, a dietician who was not directly involved in the study.
She recommended adopting a Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet, which features a lot of plant-based meals as well as unprocessed meat, is also noted in the report as having health advantages.
Insider has also reported before that processed meats like bacon and sausages are associated with heart disease mostly because they contain a lot of salt that can raise one’s blood pressure.
While vegan and vegetarian diets might be advantageous to a person’s heart health, according to registered dietician Dr. Duane Mellor, who was also not involved in the research, people wishing to give up meat should think about another way to get minerals like iron, iodine, vitamin D and vitamin B12.