Brits advised to go veggie to improve heart health

| Post published on January 4, 2008
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The Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) – a leading health and nutrition charity championing the benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets – is launching a healthy heart campaign this month. The VVF has produced a wealth of new resources to steer people towards a heart-healthy diet. Our new A5 full-colour guide, Have a Heart, is brimming with information, tips and easy-to-follow recipes showing how to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as heart disease and stroke.

It also demonstrates simple disease-busting changes you can make to your meals – with results that will please everyone! VVF senior nutritionist, Amanda Woodvine, says: “Guidelines for the UK say that we should aim for a cholesterol level below 5.0mmol/l, but unfortunately, we’re not managing it, as the average level for men is about 5.5 mmol/l and 5.6 mmol/l for women. “Veggies, however, tend to have much healthier cholesterol levels and up to 50 per cent less risk of high blood pressure (defined as 140/90 or more) a condition which affects one in four Brits.

There is strong scientific evidence showing that vegetarian and vegan diets can be used to prevent and treat high blood pressure, lower cholesterol and even reverse heart disease.” The VVF has also produced:

– A fully-referenced scientific fact sheet, Plant-Based Diets and Cardiovascular Disease, which investigates the causes of CVD and explains how a plant-based diet can be used to both prevent and treat the UK’s biggest health problem;

– A handy pocket-sized guide, Do You Know Your Numbers? Blood Pressure, which gives the low-down on blood pressure and explains why a plant-based diet is the perfect way to lower it – and how it is the totality of the diet that works, not any specific ingredient;

– Car stickers you can customise with your own blood pressure numbers – “My blood pressure? Only 110/68 because I’m vegetarian’.

VVF staff will be taking these campaign resources on a nationwide tour of talks and heart healthy cookery demonstrations, where people can have a free blood pressure check and receive free one-to-one nutritional advice on how to change their diet to lower their risk of CVD.

The tour will be visiting; The Stroke Association, Worcester, Thursday 17 April 2008, Natures Corner Health Store, Newbury, Saturday 17 May 2008 and Falmouth Health Centre on Tuesday 17 June 2008.

For more information, to request a talk in your area, or to order any of these materials, visit www.vegetarian.org.uk, email info@vegetarian.org.uk or call 0117 970 5190.

For further information or for an interview contact: Amanda Woodvine, VVF senior nutritionist, on 0117 970 5190 or email amanda@vegetarian.org.uk or call press officer Helen Rossiter on 0117 944 1000 or email press@viva.org.uk

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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