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How Cardiovascular Disease Works

From the website

Cardiovascular disease sets in when the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to our heart, brain or other organs become constricted or clogged with fatty material called plaque.

A single animal-based meal can constrict our arteries by 40% just two hours after consuming it. Cardiovascular disease takes hold when this assault on our arteries continues day after day, year after year, until they become so stiff and narrow that blood flow to our hearts and brains becomes restricted. This process sets the stage for pieces of unstable plaque to break off and block blood flow to one of our arteries, at which point we may suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Many factors play a role in why animal foods aren’t good for your cardiovascular system. These include the numerous compounds and molecules that come from foods like meat — including endotoxins, trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), heterocyclic amines (HCAs), and heme iron — which can inflame our arteries and lead to the formation of plaques (28,33). Heme iron is so potentially damaging that just eating one more milligram per day is associated with a 27 percent increase in risk of coronary heart disease (34). To put that in perspective, a single hamburger patty can contain two milligrams of heme iron or more (35-37).

Meanwhile, a large body of evidence shows that plants have the opposite effect, improving arterial function via a completely different set of constituents, including antioxidants and plant-sourced nitrates, which soothe the inflammation that can lead to cardiovascular disease while improving blood flow to our heart, brain and other organs (38,39).

Taking all of this into account, it may come as no surprise that a healthy plant-based diet is not only effective at preventing cardiovascular disease, but is the only diet that has ever been clinically proven to actually reverse it (40,41).

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