The sky is blue. The grass is green. And scientists have yet again concluded that avoiding meat and consuming more vegetables is key to improving your cardiovascular health, as well as living an overall longer and healthier life.
We could have probably seen this coming, but having a scientific study to back it up does help.
The Study Itself
The study looked at over 12,000 people who were middle-aged in the United States. This was not a short six-week evaluation of cholesterol levels, either – these people were followed from 1987 to 2016, and they had no evidence of any cardiovascular disease when it first started. It involved the participants reporting their eating habits to researchers at regular intervals.
It was done by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Atherosclerosis Risk of Communities, and aimed to link a person’s diet to their heart and overall health later on in their lives.
The Results of the Study
This is the important part, so pay attention. Adults who had mostly plant-based diets had a 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who ate more meat. They had a 32% lower risk of dying from that cardiovascular disease as well.
The big one is this: they found that those who had a more plant-focused diet had between 18% and 25% lower risk of early death from any cause, not just heart disease but stroke, cancer, and more.
These numbers are actually very significant. The idea that the way you eat can potentially protect you from dying from cardiovascular disease and even just having an early death, in general, is huge.
More studying on the numbers and results are needed to find out just the exact links, but these early results are very promising.
31% of all deaths worldwide are from cardiovascular disease, or over 17 million a year. Every step you can take to reduce your risk is important.
What Does This Mean For Your Health?
It’s important to note the wording of this study – mostly plant-based. This means that those who are eating this way and seeing health benefits aren’t going full vegetarian or vegan, but simply consuming more vegetables than meat.
There are easy ways to incorporate more veggies in your diet. The hashtag Meatless Monday trends on Twitter or Instagram all the time, and encourages a day of eating just vegetarian meals to help start your week off right.
Choosing dishes with a smaller portion of protein and a larger portion of greens for dinner or lunch can make a big difference, too!
This study isn’t saying that in order to be healthy you have to cut out meat altogether. That’s extreme and unrealistic for many people. But choosing healthier vegetable and fruit options could extend your life and protect your heart from disease.