Vegetarians Cut Heart Risk by 32 Percent; Bye-Bye, Meat

First Posted: Jan 30, 2013 01:47 PM EST

There's some great news for all those veggie eaters out there, and some bad news for those steak-lovers. A new British study has found that vegetarians are 32 percent less likely to die or need hospital treatment as a result of heart disease.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at data from 15,100 vegetarians and 29,400 people who ate meat and fish. Researchers at the University of Oxford analyzed the data and found that over the course of 11 years, 169 people in the study died from heart disease and 1,066 needed hospital treatment. These people were more likely to have been meat and fish eaters as opposed to vegetarians.

Heart disease is a huge issue in Western countries. It kills 94,000 people in the UK each year-more than any other disease. In addition about 2.6 million people live with the condition. The disease occurs when a heart's blood supply becomes blocked by fatty deposits in the arteries. This can cause angina or lead to a heart attack if the vessels become completely blocked.

This study shows that, while meat is fine is small amounts, diets are an important part of staying healthy. Researchers pointed out that the main reason for their results was probably because vegetarians most likely have a lower intake of saturated fat. It would therefore make sense that they would have a lower risk of heart disease.

In addition to a lower risk of heart disease, the results showed that vegetarians had lower blood pressure, lower levels of "bad" cholesterol and were more likely to have a healthy weight.

However, a healthier diet doesn't necessarily mean going vegetarian, according to BBC News. There are plenty of options on the menu suitable for vegetarians that are high in saturated fat and salt. Nevertheless, putting down that burger and picking up a salad may help keep your heart happy.

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