The key to reducing cholesterol levels and increasing life expectancy may lie in the adoption of a vegan diet, according to a recent study by Stanford University in the United States. Healthcare professionals have long emphasized the importance of reducing the consumption of carne, dairy, and ultra-processed foods to preserve heart and artery health, and the recent study supports the growing evidence that a shift to a plant-based diet may have substantial benefits for cardiovascular well-being.
The study found that following a vegan diet can significantly improve health in a short period, with noticeable differences in just eight weeks. Participants who followed a vegan diet showed significant reductions in cholesterol levels, insulin, and body weight compared to their omnivorous counterparts. Additionally, the vegan group experienced a decrease in fasting insulin levels and an average weight loss of 2.5 kilos greater than that of omnivores. The adoption of a vegan diet also encouraged the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and reduced cellular aging, according to the study.
Dr. Christopher Gardner, Rehnborg Farquhar Professor and Professor of Medicine, expressed enthusiasm for the study’s innovative perspective, emphasizing that incorporating more plant-based foods into one’s diet is key to maintaining health.
A vegan diet excludes all animal-origin foods, such as meat, dairy products, eggs, and other ingredients of animal origin. Instead, vegans base their diet on a variety of vegetarian food, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It is important for those following a vegan diet to ensure they are getting essential nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, zinc, and omega-3 through alternative sources or supplements, as some of these nutrients are often present in significant quantities in animal products.
The findings of this study have positioned the quality of the vegan diet as a powerful tool in the prevention of heart problems, and are likely to have a significant impact on dietary recommendations from healthcare professionals.