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Can Plant Based Diets Reduce Heart Disease?

Updated: Feb 26

Yes, adopting a plant-based diets has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in research, and clinical experience over many, many years. And yes you can and should practice low carb, and you can even do ketogenic here too. Numerous studies have suggested that plant-based diets can have positive effects on cardiovascular health. In this article let's just review the biggest ways in which plant-based diets may contribute to a lower risk of heart disease. *This is not personal medical advice! Every patient is unique. Don't believe everything you read on line or in FB Groups!

  1. Lowering Cholesterol Levels: Plant-based diets tend to be lower in saturated fats and cholesterol, which are commonly found in animal products. Reduced intake of these substances can help lower blood cholesterol levels, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

  2. Reducing Blood Pressure: Plant-based diets, particularly those emphasizing whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, have been linked to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.

  3. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Plant-based diets are often rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is implicated in the development of various cardiovascular diseases.

  4. Improving Weight Management & GI Health: Plant-based diets are generally lower in calorie density and can be very effective (when done right) for weight management. Plus they can significantly improve gut health, reduce the risk chronic constipation and likely diverticulosis and more as a result. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health, as excess weight is a major risk factor for diabetes, neuropathy and so much more including heart disease.

  5. Enhancing Endothelial Function: Plant-based diets may improve endothelial function, which refers to the health of the inner lining of blood vessels. This is important in reducing blood vessel "hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. Improved endothelial function is associated with better cardiovascular health.

It's important to note that the key to a heart-healthy diet is not only eliminating certain foods but also emphasizing a variety of nutrient-rich plant foods. Where too many people still go off the rails though is not eliminating many processed foods even though they are labeled "organic, plant based, gluten free or vegan". Too often they rely on "magic" supplements, powders, drinks and shakes. Be very careful here.


A well-balanced plant-based diet should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds to ensure that you get a wide range of nutrients. I am a huge advocate of baseline and periodic lab work, and a lifestyle medicine approach and more in-depth testing for many patients that warrant it.

Before making significant changes to your diet, it's advisable to consult with a legitimately trained healthcare professional (do your homework here!). This is to ensure that your nutritional needs are met in light of any medical issues

and to address your individual health concerns.


Can Plant Based Diets Reduce Heart Disease?
Can Plant Based Diets Reduce Heart Disease?

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