Animal rights activists like to entice people toward a vegetarianism by imploring them to “have a heart.” But a vegetarian diet can also help your heart, cutting the risk of cardiovascular disease complications quite significantly.
In a large and lengthy new study, vegetarians were 32% less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease, compared to carnivorous counterparts. ”Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure,” said lead researcher Francesca Crowe in a news release.
Not only were vegetarians less likely to suffer serious heart complications than meat-eaters or pescetarians, they also tended to be thinner and get less type-2 diabetes.
Some 45,000 British participants took part in the study, which monitored them from the 1990s to 2009.
HealthDay notes some limitations to the study, including the fact that vegetarians were younger, on average, than the study population as a whole.
But the findings are in line with past studies on vegetarians and heart health. Previous research has also linked vegetarianism with all sorts of health benefits, from living longer to having better sex. One recent study found vegetarians and vegans were also much less likely to get certain cancers.