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The Connection Between Heart Health & Veganism
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The Connection Between Heart Health & Veganism

Keeping our hearts healthy can help us enjoy a fuller, longer life. Whether you’ve recently switched to a plant-based diet or have been vegan for over a decade, your heart has been happily reaping the benefits.

Experts at Arizona State University reported that approximately 27 million Americans have heart disease. Moreover, it is currently the number one cause of death in America. As healthcare technology advances, many of us are finding it easier to monitor our health-related metrics such as heart rate, physical activity, eating patterns, and stress levels.

Thanks to the technology found on our phones, watches, and wellness trackers such as the Fitbit, we (arguably) feel more connected to our body and its needs. However, according to recent studies, living on a plant-based or vegan diet is also helping us understand our bodies and the effects of a typical Western-diet on our bodies.

As research is beginning to uncover that regularly consuming meat, dairy, and egg products can cause many humans to develop common heart diseases such as coronary artery disease and cardiovascular disease. Given that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women and men in the U.S., researchers have been attempting to solve the mystery behind the data. That’s where plant-based diets come in.

Thanks to an experiment involving five meat eaters and one vegan, researchers were able to pinpoint a bacteria in the intestines that appeared after the participants consumed red meat. This bacteria could very well be the cause of a chemical that enters our bloodstream and liver and increases the risk of heart disease. However, many people on plant-based diets don’t seem to have this bacteria in their guts, as opposed to those on a more traditional meat and dairy diet. As you’ve probably already guessed by now, this means that living on a plant-based diet could reduce your risk of getting heart disease!

And how about this interesting study from 1951? It reported that during WWII, when Germans confiscated Norway’s livestock, Norwegians experienced a significant decrease in circulatory diseases. Forced to utilize a plant-based diet, their overall heart health increased. Of course today, many people are able to choose a plant-based or vegan lifestyle. Furthermore, many areas where inhabitants thrive on plant-based diets — such as specific parts of Central Africa, rural China, and Okinawa — have little to no cases of cardiovascular disease.

In the U.S. today, our understanding of the connection between long-term heart health and vegan or plant-based lifestyles is growing. Many health professionals are working to advance disease prevention and wellness education by organizing and emphasizing the framework for healthy lifestyles and habits. As health professionals continue to share evidence-based information and studies, Americans can continue to work on improving our overall health and well-being — especially when it comes to our hearts.

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