All diets designed to promote heart health are low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber. Vegetarian and vegan diets, then, are natural choices for those who want to reduce the risk of heart disease because vegetarian diets are naturally low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber! Eliminating meat, poultry and fish, which are among the foods highest in fat and cholesterol and lowest in fiber, can be a giant step toward improving heart health. Another step, which comes naturally to vegetarians, is to increase the consumption of plant-based foods that are naturally high in fiber. Plant-based foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, also provide antioxidant protection for the heart.
I recently read the 101 Quick-Fire Recipes for Vegans by Sam Kuna and got some great recipes. I loved the recipes, they range from power smoothies for breakfast to Mediterranean inspire appetizers to savory pastas. The recipes are created to get you form prep to table in about 20 min. Microwave Tiramisu, Hemp Seed Cesar Salad, Quinoa Spinach Balls and Classic Apple Punch are some of my favorite.
Here are some of my favorite ways to make recipes vegan, enjoy vegan dining out and eat for heart health:
- Since egg yolks are high in cholesterol, whole eggs can often be replaced with bananas, tofu, applesauce, or egg replacers in most recipes.
- Eating out can be especially challenging both to vegetarians, vegans and to those concerned about heart health. Some simple guidelines can make it easier. For example, choose stir-fried entrees, steamed vegetables, and pasta with tomato sauce. Order baked potatoes without butter or cheese, and choose vegetable-based soups. Avoid mayonnaise-based salad dressings, and always ask for dressings and sauces to be served on the side so you can limit the amount you eat.
- Saturated fats and trans fats should be avoided, while monounsaturated fats are generally considered good for the heart. The fact that saturated fats are mostly found in animal products is another natural advantage for vegetarians concerned with heart health. But saturated fats are also found in coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil, so these oils should be avoided on a heart healthy diet. Trans fats, which may also contribute to the development of heart disease, are found in margarine and many baked goods. Monounsaturated fats, the kind that are good for the heart, include canola oil, olive oil, flax seed oil, nuts, avocado, soy, and nut butters.
- A vegen diet that includes soy products may add an extra benefit for heart health.
- Since cholesterol is only found in food of animal origin, such as meat, eggs and dairy products, vegans do not need to worry about cholesterol in the foods they eat.. Grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables and vegetable oil are all naturally cholesterol free. Conversely, only vegetarian foods provide heart healthy fiber. Oats, carrots, fruits, and beans are especially high in the kind of fiber that helps to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.