A vegan diet is as good for humans’ health as it is for animal welfare. There is no nutritional need for humans to eat any animal product; all our dietary needs, even as infants and children, are best supplied by a meatless diet. The American Dietetic Association notes that a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of many chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
Animal Products Lead to Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the number one health problem in the U.S., accounting for nearly 1 million heart attacks annually and 2,150 deaths each day. Because we now know what causes heart attacks, we can prevent them. In many studies, researchers have found that higher levels of cholesterol are linked to a greater risk of having a heart attack. For every 1 percent reduction in your LDL cholesterol level, your risk of coronary heart disease drops by 1 percent.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the meat, dairy, and egg industries, many Americans still believe that animal products are necessary for good health. One of the largest studies on lifestyle and health found that heart disease mortality rates for lacto-ovo-vegetarian males was only one-third that of meat-eating men.4 The British Medical Journal published findings from a study concluding that lifelong vegans have a 57 percent reduced risk of death from heart disease.
Plant foods contain no cholesterol, whereas meat, eggs, and dairy products contain large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. Also, the high fiber content of a vegan diet (meat, dairy products, and eggs are devoid of fiber) helps “wash away” excess cholesterol in your digestive tract.
A vegan diet can even reverse damage already done. When Dr. Dean Ornish put patients with coronary artery disease on a low-fat vegan diet combined with moderate exercise and relaxation techniques, he found that they reversed the buildup of plaque in their arteries.