Less heart-damaging inflammation with a vegan diet?

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A vegan diet may help lower heart-damaging inflammation more than the diet recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA), a new study finds.

The study included 100 people with heart disease, which was defined as having at least one narrowed heart artery. Half were randomly selected to follow a vegan diet, which excludes meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, seafood, and fish. The others followed the AHA diet, which encourages lean poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products, along with plant-based foods. All of the participants received weekly groceries, a cookbook, and sample menus. They also provided 24-hour diet recall records twice a week on random days.

After eight weeks, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were 32% lower among people in the vegan diet group when compared with the AHA diet group. Elevated levels of CRP — a marker for inflammation — are associated with a higher risk of heart attack. The study, in the Dec. 4, 2018, Journal of the American Heart Association, lends further support for the benefits of plant-focused diets.

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