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A predominantly plant-based diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Multiple studies have linked a plant-based diet to a decreased risk of heart disease. However, they have stated the need for further analysis.

Multiple studies have linked a plant-based diet to a decreased risk of heart disease. However, they have stated the need for further analysis.Vegan diets are wholly plant-based in that they exclude meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Vegetarian diets are predominantly plant-based in that they exclude just meat and fish.

One of the advantages of a wholly or predominantly plant-based diet has to do with bacteria in the gut. The human digestive tract houses a community of bacteria called the gut microbiota. These microbes play an important role in metabolism as well as in nutrient absorption and immune response.

The gut microbiota-related metabolite known as trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is produced when gut bacteria digest nutrients commonly found in animal products such as red meat. The production of TMAO is connected to an increased risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease. Maintaining a vegan or vegetarian diet can reduce the amount of TMAO produced in the body.

Plant-based diets—whether wholly or predominantly plant-based—can also provide individuals with good sources of protein, calcium and other vitamins; can help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease; and help with bone health. Several studies have also shown that plant-based diets are associated with some types of cancer. However, many of these studies have also indicated the need for further analysis.

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