News And Politics

Vegetarians less likely to die from heart disease

Jan. 30, 2013, 2:20 p.m.

Vegetarians, who often eat meals rich in vegetables and grains, are at less of a risk of getting and/or dying from heart disease than their meat-eating counterparts. (Flickr via Melissa Bernais)

There may be one more reason to take part in L.A.'s "Meatless Monday" initiative: According to a new study, vegetarians have about one third less risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease compared to their meat-eating counterparts.

HealthDay News reports that this research compiled by the University of Oxford in England included surveying 45,000 people, vegetarians and non-vegetarians, from England and Scotland.

After years of studying the participants' health conditions, researchers concluded that vegetarians are typically slimmer, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a decreased chance of being affected by heart disease.

And the American Heart Association (AHA) seems to agree.

According to their website, vegetarian diets are typically lower in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than non-vegetarian diets. Many studies have shown that vegetarians also have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease and even some forms of cancer.

Carole Bartolotto is a registered dietitian with Kaiser Permanente Southern California Regional Health Education. She told OnCentral that eating less meat isn't just helpful for your physical health -- it can be good for your financial health as well. By replacing red meat with protein-rich foods like kale and beans, you can drastically reduce the amount of money you spend on meals.

“You're talking about less than a dollar for probably one of the healthiest meals you can have,” she said.

These affordable food items such as beans and legumes have an added bonus of being high in fiber and low in calories -- therefore filling you up with less fat.

The City of Los Angeles recently took a public stand toward supporting vegetarianism when the City Council passed the "Meatless Monday" initiative last November. This resolution is intended to encourage residents to go veg for at least one day a week in order to improve personal health and environmental conditions across the globe.

"Meatless Monday is about raising awareness," said councilwoman Jan Perry in a statement last year. "It's not a requirement but rather a call for all of us to think about our environment, the food we eat, and how we can be a part of making ourselves healthier."

For more information on heart-healthy foods or to gather inspiration for a new vegetarian recipe, please check out some of the links below.

- Meatless Monday recipes
- Vegetarian Times
- Cooking Light
- The Food Network
- All Recipes
- VegKitchen
- Vegweb

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