New study: Vegetarian diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
It’s late November, and we’re here at Landvetter Airport, close to Gothenburg. We’re about to head home to Stockholm, having just given a lecture on intestinal flora for 130 employees at Volvo.
When we’re out giving talks about diet and health, we get many questions about a variety of diseases. There are questions about everything from diabetes and cancer, to Alzheimer’s and IBS. But to date we haven’t received a single question on cardiovascular disease. However, cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause of death in Sweden. Although fewer people are currently dying from it (due to both major progress in research and better acute care for heart disease), the Heart-Lung Foundation’s yearly Heart Report still shows that more and more people are currently living with serious risk factors for cardiovascular disease. And the culprit seems to be our lifestyle.
A few years ago, we interviewed chief physician David Stenholtz. David told us that there are many lifestyle-related diseases that can be eliminated almost exclusively with diet, including cardiovascular disease. This we noted diligently, and yet inside our heads the question remained: Can it really be that simple – that the food we eat can help prevent what has become the most common cause of death in Sweden?
Recently, at the American Heart Association’s annual congress, a study was presented showing that for people who switched to a vegetarian diet, the risk was significantly reduced for cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis in just four weeks. The study group included 31 obese people, each with high blood-fat levels, all of whom were put on a vegetarian diet. At both the start and the conclusion of the study, blood-fat levels were measured against the numbers that are most common for those suffering from heart disease, and the results showed that all blood fats (especially Lp (a), cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, triglycerides, apolipoprotein B and A-1, LDL-particles, small-density LDL-C, HDL2-C and apolipoprotein A-1) were decreased by between 15-30%.
Time for boarding. We sat down on row 26 and agreed on that if it’s that easy to prevent cardiovascular disease through maintaining a healthy diet, we should spread the news, the best way we can.
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