young woman using her digital tablet while preparing a healthy meal at home


Plant-based diet offers quick heart health improvement, study says

  • Vegan diets are plant-based and free of animal products.
  • A recent study measured the health benefits of vegan diets.
  • Results show vegan eating can offer quick health boost.

Want to make fast work of improving your heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease? Go vegan, according to a recent study

When researchers compared the health of identical twins in a randomized clinical trial, a healthy plant-based diet created better heart health than an omnivorous or meat-based one.

The research

The study involved twins who grew up together and reported similar lifestyles. One twin from each pair followed a vegan diet, the other an omnivore diet. Both were healthy, consisting of vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains and more. The vegan diet was exclusively plant-based — leaving out meats, dairy, eggs, milk and other animal products. Healthy meats and dairy products were part of the omnivore diet.

The findings

In the end, both diets helped with health markers, but the vegan version created better results, including lower:

  • LDL cholesterol
  • Fasting insulin readings
  • Body weight  

Researchers also noted the speed with which the dietary changes had an effect. Within weeks, vegan participants were able to see more positive impacts on their health.

The bottom line

The study finds plant-based diets are associated with improved heart health and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, likely because of higher daily consumption of vegetables and fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds compared to other dietary patterns.

One more thing: Still trying to decide if you can give up meat and animal products? Try making meatless meals once or twice a week. For other meals, try not to have meat as the centerpiece of your plate. Make fruits and vegetables the focus and think of meat as a side dish.


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