According to The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. Controllable risk factors for heart disease include: cholesterol level (LDL and HDL), diabetes, obesity, and systolic blood pressure. An individual’s age and smoking status are also considered predictors for cardiovascular disease. Several recent studies have suggested that a vegetarian diet is effective at reducing controllable risk factors for heart disease.
There are various types of vegetarian diets including: Vegan (exclusively plant-based foods), Lacto-ovo vegetarian (eggs, milk and milk products are included), Pesco – vegetarian (same as lacto-ovo but includes fish and seafood), and Semi-vegetarian (primarily plant based, with occasional meat consumption).
Numerous studies have proven that a plant based diet can decrease a person’s risk of heart disease by reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Often, the adopting a plant based diet will even reverse lesions of occlusive coronary artery disease. Additionally, patients at risk for developing cardiovascular disease who adopt a vegetarian diet, or at least modify their current diet by reducing red meat and saturated fat intake can reduce or prevent the need for medications. Given the recent trend in healthcare toward preventative medicine, dietary and lifestyle modifications should be encouraged to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, is also board-certified in nutrition. She offers nutritional counseling and dietary modification programs to her patients. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.