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– Heart attack – Stroke – High blood pressure – Heart Failure – Peripheral artery disease – Iirregular heartbeat – Cardiomyopathy  – Congenital heart disease

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This lessens the production of LDL "bad" cholesterol production by the liver. Choose vegetarian fats that are liquid at room temperature more often than those that are solid.

Fiber removes cholesterol from our bodies. Find fiber in whole grains, fruits, vegetable, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Phytochemicals are compounds in plant foods that provide a variety of benefits. This includes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can improve blood pressure, prevent excessive blood clots, and improve elasticity of our blood vessels.

They can be found in particularly high amounts in dark chocolate, berries, cruciferous vegetables tomatoes, and tea.  Look for lots of color!

Including (but not limited to) magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, Vitamin E, and folate

Multiple studies show that a well-balanced vegetarian diet results in lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower rates of heart-related hospitalizations and death.

Studies are not clear if the improved outcomes are related to the lack of meat or the increase in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds in the diet.  Some diets that include meat have also been found to be good for the heart.

The heart-healthy benefits of a vegetarian diet are only present if it is well- balanced. Fries and milkshakes won't do it. Make sure that you're getting plenty of protein, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lots of fruits and vegetables.