Vegan Diet Could Cut Holiday Heart Attack Risk

Posted on by Neal Barnard, MD, FACC

Excessive eating this Christmas – and for many that means loading up on eggnog, cheese plates, ham, roast beef, and turkey – could lead to a holiday heart attack, according to a new study. Swedish researchers found that heart attack risk increased by 37% on Christmas eve and 15% on Christmas day. This was compared to the 2 weeks before and after Christmas, and was possibly due in part to overeating. People with type 2 diabetes and heart disease were at greater risk – that’s more than 120 million Americans. Of course, filling up on baked potatoes and broccoli won’t lead to a heart attack. But a Christmas coronary could be around the corner if you load up on holiday ham; baked potatoes topped with butter, sour cream and bacon; and broccoli swimming in cream sauce and cheese. Research shows that the risk of a heart attack quadruples within hours after eating a large, fatty meal. This is in part because it increases blood pressure, which may rupture cholesterol plaques causing a clot that can block a blood vessel and trigger a heart attack. Instead of putting your heart health at risk this holiday season, try out some vegan holiday recipes, like this vegan lasagna and this creamy mushroom bisque. A vegan diet works even better than the American Heart Association-recommended diet for heart disease prevention, according to a new study published by the American Heart Association. Then keep your heart-heathy diet going into 2019 and beyond. You can download the newly redesigned 21-Day Vegan Kickstart app and pick up a copy of my latest book, The Vegan Starter Kit, which comes out on December 24. Photo from here, with thanks.