Research reveals vegetarian diets can reduce high cholesterol, a dangerous health issue that usually goes untreated and unnoticed
A large-scale review of various studies - nearly 50 - reveal that individuals who partake in exclusively vegetarian diets generally have lower cholesterol.
A vegetarian diet tends to consist of more vegetables, nuts, and fruit with very little saturated fats being consumed.
The studies compared cholesterol counts in individuals who were heavy meat-eaters, those with a balanced (omnivorous) diet, and those following a vegetarian diet.
For the purposes of the study analyzing the numerous dietary evaluations, vegetarian diets were categorized as those who do not eat meat more than once a month.
The study also suggests that generally, consuming more foods that are found in a vegetarian diet can also improve cardiovascular function.
The reason for the health benefits is that most of the foods are high in fiber, plant sterols, and other components which reduce cholesterol over time.
Cholesterol is known as a silent killer
One of the reasons that high cholesterol is especially dangerous is because it often goes without being diagnosed until it is too late, and the patient is already suffering serious symptoms.
High cholesterol can lead to strokes, heart disease, heart attacks, and various types of vascular disease, as well as diabetes.
One of the head researchers, Dr. Levin, encouraged people to consider nutrition as a key important health benefit, and begin watching their diets as early as possible.
Dr. Levin stated that it is far easier to begin working on optimizing health - both physically and through diet - as early in life as possible, rather than being faced with serious health problems later in life when it is harder to make big life changes.
She suggests that meals contain less meat and fats, and more plant-type, leafy foods.