January 30, 2013

Varied diet is the key to looking after your heart

Woman grocery shopping in a supermarketThe risk of hospitalisation or death from heart disease is 32 per cent lower in vegetarians than in people who eat meat, researchers have claimed.

In an analysis of almost 45,000 people, vegetarians were found to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than meat eaters, which is thought to be the main reason behind their reduced risk of heart disease.

Choosing the veggie option is not a shortcut to a healthy heart

Our Heart Health Dietitian, Tracy Parker, said: “This research reminds us that we should try to eat a balanced and varied diet – whether this includes meat or not.

“Vegetarians were shown to eat more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and cheese than meat eaters. Eating less meat also leaves room for other nutritious protein-rich food, such as fish, pulses, nuts and eggs.

“But remember, choosing the veggie option on the menu is not a shortcut to a healthy heart. After all, there are still plenty of foods suitable for vegetarians that are high in saturated fat and salt.

“If you’re thinking of switching to a vegetarian diet, make sure you plan your meals carefully so that you replace any lost vitamins and minerals, such as iron, that you would normally get from meat.”

This research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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