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Vegans may be at high risk of heart disease--study

A balanced vegetarian diet can supply enough protein but most vegetarians fail to get adequate protein in their diets.

Are you a strict vegetarian? If so, you could be at a greater risk of getting a stroke or a heart attack, according to a study. The findings have been published in ACS' 'Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.'

The study states that strict vegetarians who completely avoid having any meat or animal products of any kind could be putting themselves to a risk of developing blood clots or hardening of the arteries.
These conditions often lead to a stroke or a heart attack.

A comprehensive review of dozens of articles published on the biochemistry of vegetarianism in the last 30 years strongly suggests the conclusion.

Strict vegan diet lacks key nutrients
Many people believe that a strict vegetarian diet will ward them off heart disease and other chronic diseases.

According to study author Duo Li, meat eaters certainly have a risk of developing heart disease than but strict vegetarians also put themselves at risk because their diet lacks essential nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient that is found only in meat or dairy products. Seafood, eggs, fortified milk, chicken and red meat are rich sources of vitamin B12.

Omega-3 fatty acids are rich in salmon and other kinds of oily fish but are not really too abundant in plant sources. Good plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts and flaxseeds.

Adequate protein intake is important for vegans
A balanced vegetarian diet can supply enough protein but most vegetarians fail to get adequate protein in their diets.

Lack of protein and other key nutrients leads vegetarians to have elevated levels of homocysteine in their blood and lower levels of HDL. Both of these factors put them at risk of heart disease.

Many people believe that a strict vegetarian diet will ward them off heart disease and other chronic diseases.

Vegans suggested supplements
The review concludes by saying that there is strong scientific data which says that vegetarians should have increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 in their diets to combat these risk factors.

If you are a strict vegetarian and absolutely avoid any animal-based food products, try taking supplements to fulfill these nutritional deficiencies.

Talk to your family physician about your diet and have your physician recommend vitamin B12 and omega-3 supplements.

You have don't strong ethical reasons for not consuming animal-based food products, try incorporating them in your diet.