Health benefits of vegetarianism on ischemic heart disease (IHD)

Lorenzo Fimognari, Wence Xiao & Kumar Ramesh Thakur

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


Background: A reduced risk of about 24-30% of mortality for Ischemic heart disease (IHD) in western vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians has been shown by several studies but there are doubts about the causes of the reduced mortality rate among the vegetarian population. Aim: The aim of this project is to identify the reasons for the health promoting effect of vegetarianism with focus on IHD, and to suggest if these are due to avoiding meat consumption or other factors relating to different life styles. We tried to check the causes of this 24-30% reduced mortality rate in the western vegetarian population. Methods and results: We searched in the literature for data about the association of IHD with lifestyle and dietary factors and then we compared them in terms of their presence/absence in the vegetarian and non-vegetarian diet. We found that vegetarians generally have greater intake of whole wheat bread, vegetables, fruit, wine, dietary fibers, vitamin E, and vitamin C, which helps them to counteract IHD, while non-vegetarians have a greater intake of red meat, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), dietary cholesterol, saturated fat, and have greater body-mass index (BMI), smoke more and do less intense physical activity which makes them more likely to be affected with IHD. Conclusions: Our primary suggestion to non-vegetarians is to decrease their smoking habits, do more physical activity, increase their daily fibers intake by increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables and lower intake of cholesterol by eating whole grain foodstuff rather than refined grain products. Other suggestions like consuming plant oils rather than butter or hydrogenated fats, eating fish instead of red meat, drinking small amounts of wine instead of other alcohols, limiting the intake of eggs to 1 or 2 per week could help them to reach a higher protection against IHD.

UddannelserBasis - International Naturvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato20 jan. 2009
VejledereOle Vang


  • IHD
  • vegetarianism