The College Veggie: A scientific meta-analysis found vegetarians and vegans have lower blood pressure. Kelsey Fortin, a peer health educator at the University of Kansas, said the difference between two kinds of fat is at the core of the results.
Kelsey Fortin: Your body needs fat for essential everyday functions, but it needs the good fat, not the bad fat. When we’re looking at nuts and beans and those products, the fat content in there, we’re looking at unsaturated fats, so those are going to be the fats that are good for you and essential for body function. When we’re looking at the fats that are in meat products, we’re looking at saturated fats or trans fats. Trans fats, what they do is lower your good cholesterol level while simultaneously increasing your bad cholesterol level, so it’s kind of a double whammy.
TCV: Popular high-protein diets have two downfalls: more saturated fat and more sodium.
KF: We found that a lot of Americans consume way too much protein, especially through animal products, and so not are they only getting over their allotted amount of protein, they’re also, then in turn, getting over their amount of fat. It also has a higher sodium content as well. Both of those — fat and sodium — are going to contribute to any clogging of the arteries, which in turn is going to heighten your blood pressure.
TCV: A vegetarian diet is a natural and better financial alternative to using medications to combat high blood pressure.
KF: I don’t know anyone who would want to be on medications for all of their life. Not only is it kind of strenuous in thinking that you’re going to have to pay for that, and you’re going to have to be conscious of taking that every day, but also it’s going to be hard on your body, you’re going to have to be processing that medication every day. A lot of doctors have actually been able to reverse the effects of these diseases by getting people off of their medication by switching them to a fully plant-based diet. Not only are you going to reap the benefits financially, your body’s going to feel better, but you’re also doing it the more natural way. You’re also combating that disease before you even get it.
TCV: This has been Emma LeGault with The College Veggie.