Have a heart – go veggie!

| Post published on January 7, 2010
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Healthy hearts – why a vegan diet is best

A new report from NHS watchdog NICE says we can reduce cardiovascular diseases by cutting down on salt, saturated fat and avoiding trans fats but leading health charity Vegetarian &; Vegan Foundation (VVF) says going vegetarian is a much easier way to protect your heart health.

VVF senior health campaigner Dr Justine Butler says “We agree with NICE that these harmful substances, often found in biscuits, cakes and fast food, should be avoided but cutting meat out of the diet is an easier and more effective way of dodging the UK’s biggest killers – heart disease and stroke.

A well-balanced vegetarian diet containing wholegrain foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds is high in fibre and low in salt, saturated and trans fats anyway, so it’s a win-win situation. Strong scientific evidence shows that vegetarian diets can be used to prevent and treat high blood pressure, lower cholesterol and even reverse heart disease.

Vegetarians are less at risk of heart disease and have up to 25 per cent less chance of dying from it. If everyone in the UK went vegetarian, around 40,000 lives a year could be saved.”

The VVF has produced a range of valuable resources to steer people towards a heart-healthy diet including:

The Have a Heart guide; 32-pages brimming with information, tips and easy-to-follow recipes.
Plant-Based Diets and Cardiovascular Disease an informative fully-referenced fact sheet describing the scientific research on how a veggie diet can protect heart health.
Customisable Blood Pressure Car Sticker.

Do You Know Your Numbers? Blood Pressure mini-guide gives the low-down on blood pressure and explains why a vegetarian diet is the perfect way to lower it.

Nutrition in a Nutshell an easy-to-read guide explaining why a veggie diet is healthy and nutritious. Includes a vitamin chart and where to obtain all the nutrients you need on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

To order your Healthy Heart Pack for just £5.00 (inc p&;p) send a cheque payable to VVF to Healthy Heart Pack, VVF, 8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol, BS2 8QH or telephone 0117 970 5190 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm).

For more information about this media release or hi-res images contact senior health campaigner Dr Justine Butler or press officer Helen Rossiter at the VVF on 0117 970 5190 or email info@vegetarian.org.uk.

Notes for editors:

“…vegetarians have a lower mean BMI, a lower mean plasma total cholesterol concentration, and a lower mortality from IHD. They may also have a lower risk for some other diseases such as constipation, diverticular disease, gallstones and appendicitis. ”

“The evidence available suggests that widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet could prevent approximately 40,000 deaths from IHD in Britain each year. ”

Compared with non-vegetarians, Western vegetarians have a lower mean BMI (by about 1 kg/m2), a lower mean plasma total cholesterol concentration (by about 0.5 mmol/l), and a lower mortality from IHD (by about 25%).

Key et al., 1999. Health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 58 (2) 271-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&;db=pubmed&;dopt=Abstract&;list_uids=10466166&;query_hl=6

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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