Vegetarian Diet Cuts Risk of Heart Disease

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Cut back on that steak! A recently released study from scientists at Oxford University in England suggests that vegetarians are 32% less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease than meat eaters — including those who eat mostly fish.

Researchers followed a total of 44,561 men and women living in England and Scotland for 11.5 years on average; 34% of those persons were vegetarians. Throughout the study, the researchers assessed the participants’ diet, smoking habits, exercise habits, body-mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

After adjusting for potential compounding factors, like age, alcohol consumption and physical activity, they found that vegetarians had a 32% lower risk of being hospitalized or dying from heart disease. They even found that those who were vegetarians for at least 5 years during the study enjoyed similar heart-healthy benefits.

The benefits of a vegetarian diet has long been championed by celebrities and physicians such as Bill Clinton, Alicia Silverstone, Paul McCartney and Dr. Dean Ornish. Many not only praise the health benefits of a vegetarian or vegan household but also mention the benefits afforded to animals and to the environment.

Various vegetarian and vegan organizations also claim that eliminating meat bestows a multitude of other health benefits, including a lower risk of osteoporosis, cancer and fatigue. Many also famously claim that vegetarians have stronger sex drives and make better lovers.

Lisa Oz, Dr. Oz’s wife, has been a vegetarian since age 15 and keeps a vegetarian household.

If you’re considering switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, make sure you’re getting enough protein and vitamins in your diet, as vegetarians run the risk of not getting enough protein or vital nutrients that meat provides, including vitamin B12. Take a multivitamin to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients and make sure to include good sources of plant-based proteins in your diet from tofu, quinoa, tempeh, or white beans.