Eat Vegan And Prevent Heart Diseases

Today our guest blogger is Dr. Jupitor Chakma.

healthy saladThe numbers of vegetarians/vegans are increasing across the globe, including in many Western industrialized countries such as US, UK and other European countries.

In many countries such as India many people (significantly large percentage of population) are traditionally vegetarians and following vegan diet for centuries, before the idea of vegetarianism was known to Western people.

In India most vegetarians are not pure vegetarian in true sense, as they take milk and milk products such as curd, yoghurt and other food preparations where milk is used, such as different varieties of sweets, desserts and other dairy products.

Due to the several health benefits of eating vegetarian/vegan diet many people are opting for vegan diet. The health benefits of vegetarian diet in heart disease prevention, cancer prevention and obesity prevention is well-known.

The problem of heart diseases and the toll it takes on the health and economy of a nation is huge and heart diseases are the leading cause of death in most countries. It is prudent for us to know the heart disease prevention quality of vegan diet and practice it.

Plant Oils

Oils of plant origin contain high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids (poly unsaturated and mono unsaturated), which are considered as good, because they increase HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol in blood, which have protective action against heart disease (ischemic and non ischemic heart diseases).

Many drugs used in heart disease target to lower LDL (low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and increase HDL. Examples of plant oils with high unsaturated fatty acids are olive oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, mustard oil, safflower oil etc.

The only vegetable oil with lower unsaturated fatty acids is coconut oil (and there are controversies regarding heart friendly nature of coconut oil).

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetable are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants all of which are essential for prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart diseases etc.

Eating fresh fruits (and fresh vegetables such as salad) on a regular basis can reduce risk of heart disease and mortality from heart disease by a significant percentage and this has been proved in several studies across the globe.

Eating regular (preferably daily) and adequate quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables is as effective as doing regular aerobic physical exercise for preventing heart disease.

Nutritional Agents

There are several nutritional agents present in fruits and vegetables such as dietary fiber, several minerals (such as potassium, magnesium), carotenoids, phytosterols, flavonoids, antioxidants and most essential vitamins, all of which are protective for heart against cardiovascular diseases.

Colored vegetables and fruits (which most fruits and vegetables are) are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Eat vegetarian/vegan diet and reduce risk of heart disease. Alternately you can also eat adequate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables along with your regular diet, this also can reduce risk of heart diseases, although not as much as eating vegan diet.

Image: artemisphoto /