Whenever you load up your plate with veggies at dinner time, you might notice that you feel pretty darn good afterward. Turns out, this benefit is more than just a feeling. Recent research shows that eating mostly plant-based foods may be linked to better heart health in the long run.
The August 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that consuming mostly plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods was associated with a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke, or other heart disease. Researchers analyzed a database of food intake info from more than 10,000 middle-aged adults monitored from 1987 to 2016. None of the participants had heart disease at the beginning of the study. The researchers categorized the participants' eating patterns based on how many plant-based foods they consumed overall versus animal-based foods. The scientists determined that people who ate the most plants were at a reduced risk of dying from heart-related conditions.
"While you don't have to give up foods derived from animals completely, our study does suggest that eating a larger proportion of plant-based foods and a smaller proportion of animal-based foods may help reduce your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other type of cardiovascular disease," said lead researcher Casey M. Rebholz, PhD, in a press release.
It's worth keeping in mind that this is one of the first studies to analyze the proportion of plant-based diets and animal-based diets in the general population. So more research is needed before any definite conclusion is drawn. But the results show that plant-based dieters are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease — and that's certainly eye-opening to say the least.
"Our findings underscore the importance of focusing on your diet," said Dr. Rebholz. "There might be some variability in terms of individual foods, but to reduce cardiovascular disease risk people should eat more vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fruits, legumes, and fewer animal-based foods. These findings are pretty consistent with previous findings about other dietary patterns, including the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet, which emphasize the same food items."
Guess Mom was right all along — you gotta eat your vegetables!