Scientists from New York University found that a vegan diet could help reduce heart disease risk.
Coronary artery disease is the damage or disease in the heart’s major blood vessels.
The usual cause is the build-up of plaque. This causes coronary arteries to narrow, limiting blood flow to the heart. Coronary artery disease can range from no symptoms to chest pain, to a heart attack.
The hsCRP (High-sensitivity C-reactive protein) is a marker of risk for major heart outcomes in coronary artery disease.
Recent research has found that diet intervention may play an important in heart disease prevention.
A vegetarian diet is one that does not include any meat or seafood.
However, there are many variations to this – some people following a vegetarian diet may eat eggs and dairy foods, while others may avoid one or both.
A vegan diet is another form of vegetarianism where only plant foods are eaten and all foods from animal sources are avoided (meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, and sometimes honey and gelatine).
In this study, researchers compared the health benefits of a vegan diet and the American Heart Association-Recommended Diet for heart disease patients.
The American Heart Association-Recommended Diet includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy sources of protein, liquid non-tropical vegetable oils, minimally processed foods, minimized intake of added sugars, foods prepared with little or no salt, and limited or no alcohol intake.
The researchers tested 100 people with coronary artery disease. These people ate 8 weeks of a vegan or American Heart Association-recommended diet.
The team compared high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in the two groups.
They found the vegan diet led to a large 32% lower high-sensitivity C-reactive protein when compared with the American Heart Association diet.
The results were consistent after adjustment for age, race, baseline waist circumference, diabetes, and prior heart attacks.
The reduction in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference were similar between the 2 diet groups. And there were no differences in blood sugar control between the 2 diet groups.
The researchers also found that there was a 13% reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL C) with the vegan diet when compared with the American Heart Association.
Based on these findings, they concluded that for people with coronary artery disease, a vegan diet may help reduce heart disease risk.
The research was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and was conducted by Binita Shah et al.
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