For those who’re suffering from high cholesterol, a plant-based diet may be an ultimate solution for you. The vegan diets can significantly help lowering level of cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Findings of a study showed that long-term adherence to plant-based diet can lead to changes in body composition which further helps in reduction of cholesterol levels. The reductions are greater in vegan diet as compared to omnivorous diets.
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However, "our goal is to capture the net risk reduction of using a vegetarian diet to control lipid levels. We hope to empower patients with new research about the long-term cardiovascular health benefits of a vegetarian diet, which include a reduced risk of a heart attack, stroke and premature death," said Susan Levin from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid and is vital for the normal functioning of the body. While high levels of "good" HDL cholesterol are beneficial, too much "bad" LDL cholesterol can lead to heart disease.
Plant-based diet includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and whole grains, which are naturally rich in components such as soluble fiber, soy protein and plant sterols, while an omnivorous diet includes both plant and animal foods.
For the study, appearing in the journal Nutrition Reviews, the team conducted a dietary review of 49 observational and controlled studies. The results revealed that a plant-based vegetarian diet is associated with total cholesterol that's 29.2 mg/dL lower.
Further, in clinical trials, a plant-based diet lowered total cholesterol by 12.5 mg/dL.