Everyone knows that eating your fruits and vegetables is good for you. Right?
But it turns out if that’s all your eating that might not be such a good thing.
After conducting a formal review of literally dozens of articles and studies on vegetarianism published over the last 30 years, a researcher from Zhejiang University has a new warning for vegans. And it’s a pretty serious one.
A vegan diet could be bad for your heart health
If you don’t include any meat or animal products of any kind in your diet, you may need to take some extra steps to protect your heart.
Yes, ironically while a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk of heart disease those benefits may be undone due to the lack of some other important nutrients in a vegan diet.
According to Dr. Duo Li, a balanced vegan diet can generally provide enough protein, but is often lacking in crucial omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin B12.
This means that vegans are at an increased risk for developing blood clots and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Low HDL raises risk of heart disease and stroke in vegans
In addition, it turns out that vegans tend to have low levels of heart-protecting HDL cholesterol along with elevated levels of artery-damaging homocysteine, increasing their risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Of course, some of the best dietary sources of omega-3s and B12s are organic seafood, meats, eggs, and cheese.
In fact, adding in just one or two servings of an oily fish like salmon every week and a daily snack of a handful of unsalted organic walnuts can more than meet your omega-3 needs.
While a couple of servings of an organic hard cheese along with several free-range chicken eggs a week could help you easily meet your B12 goals as well.
Vegans should supplement for heart health safety
If you do choose to stick to a strictly vegan diet despite the increased heart risks, be sure to take a daily B12 supplement and add foods to your meals that will make up for the missing omega-3s your diet.
- dark leafy vegetables,
- flaxseed oil,
- pumpkin seed oil,
- and olive oil
…can all help you up your omega-3 levels.
I guess this is a good reminder that we are indeed what we eat.