Johns Hopkins Medicine writes that coronary artery disease (CAD), which is also known as ischemic heart disease, is the leading cause of death in the United States, affecting over 5 million Americans. CAD is a narrowing of the coronary arteries, generally due to the buildup of plaques in the arterial walls, from a process known as atherosclerosis. In an article today, Feb. 1, 2013, Kristina Fiore has reported for MedPage Today, Veggies Are Good for the Heart.
British researchers have found vegetarians are less likely to develop ischemic heart disease than those who eat meat. In a prospective study, it was found that vegetarians in England and Scotland had a 32% lower risk of hospitalization or death from ischemic heart disease than nonvegetarians. This study has been reported upon online by Francesca Crowe, PhD, of Oxford University, and colleagues, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers have written this difference is most likely due to lower levels of non-HDL cholesterol and lower systolic blood pressure in the vegetarians. It has been shown in earlier prospective studies that those who adhere to a vegetarian diet are at reduced risk of death from heart disease, however, few studies have looked at the combined outcomes of both fatal and nonfatal ischemic heart disease. The advantages were seen whether patients had been vegetarians for a long time, or had only recently taken up this diet.