Eat veggie and slash your stroke risk

| Post published on December 5, 2008
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DID you know that adopting a vegetarian diet can help cut the risk of suffering a stroke? Would you like a special talk on the topic to come to your community? This is the vital message being promoted by leading health organisation, The Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) as part of Stoke Awareness Day today (Tuesday, May 13).

The charity is currently touring nationwide giving talks, featuring advice and cookery demonstrations to stroke groups and local health centres. Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the UK and the third most common cause of death. A major cause is furring up of the arteries – made worse by high blood pressure and diabetes. High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke – the higher the pressure the greater the risk. Pressures at the top of the range can increase that risk tenfold.

VVF senior nutritionist, Amanda Woodvine, says: “Strong scientific evidence shows that vegetarian diets can be used to prevent and treat high blood pressure, lower cholesterol and even reverse heart disease. The more meat you eat, the more likely you are to end up with clogged arteries. Research shows that an animal-free diet can heal damage to the arteries. A low-fat, vegetarian diet eaten for just a year can reverse blockages, resulting in improved blood flow.”

During the tour, people are offered 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 next visit: Natures Corner Health Store, Newbury, Saturday May 17, 2008 and Falmouth Health Centre on Tuesday, June 17 2008.

VVF has produced a great new Healthy Heart pack, which can be downloaded from www.vegetarian.org.uk, ordered from their online shop, or by calling 0117 970 5190 (just £5.00 inc p&p).

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

How veggie diets cut the risk of stroke: Bringing Down Blood Pressure Vegetarians have much lower blood pressure than meat eaters. A low-fat veggie diet can cut the risk of high blood pressure by up to half. Cutting Cholesterol Vegetarians, especially vegans eat much less saturated fat and cholesterol than meat eaters. They also have healthier levels of blood cholesterol. Slim Veggies Carrying excess fat increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. As weight increases, so do blood pressure and cholesterol. Going veggie leads to a healthier, lower body mass index (BMI). Nature’s Aspirin Vegetarians’ blood levels of salicylic acid are up to one-and-a-half times higher than meat eaters’. Salicylic acid is the main ingredient in aspirin, prescribed make blood cells (platelets) less sticky, reducing the chances of further blood clots occurring. Full of Fibre Fibre reduces blood cholesterol levels. More good news for veggies, who tend to eat more fibre than meat eaters. There’s none in animal products (meat or dairy). Antioxidants Abound A healthy veggie diet – higher in fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, pulses and nuts – is brimming with antioxidants. These can help strengthen the arteries and inhibit the build up of plaques.

For more information on this media release contact press officer Helen Rossiter on 0117 944 1000 or Amanda Woodvine on 0117 970 5190 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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