Vegetarian and Mediterranean diet equally protects heart, a new study shows. These two eating plans that include eggs and dairy as a part of a vegetarian diet are equally effective in losing weight and reducing several risks related to cardiovascular disease.
The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, nuts, cereals, fish, vegetables, legumes, beans, grains, and olive oil.
The researchers recruited 107 healthy but overweight people aged 18 to 75. Half the group followed a Mediterranean diet, while the other started on a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet that included dairy and eggs for three months. The Mediterranean diet included fish. The researchers conducted regular health screenings of the participants.
The researchers found that both diets are effective for people’s heart health but they noted mainly two differences between the diets. The vegetarian diet was found to be more effective at dropping LDL (“bad”) cholesterol that contributes to plaque build-up in the arteries, increasing risk factors for heart attack and stroke. The Mediterranean diet led to a more substantial drop in triglycerides that increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Dr. Francesco Sofi, study lead author and a professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Florence and Careggi University Hospital in Italy said, “take-home message of our study is that a low-calorie lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet can help patients reduce cardiovascular risk about the same as a low-calorie Mediterranean diet.”
The researchers also found that participants lost an average of 3 pounds of body weight and 4 pounds of body fat. “We have now two options in terms of the prevention of cardiovascular and also other diseases,” she added, “vegetarian and Mediterranean diet equally protects heart.”