In March 2019 researchers from the USA published their review on the use plant-based diets for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, specifically distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy plant-based diets. They stated that whilst most studies have suggested plant-based diets are beneficial for cardiovascular health, only a few studies have looked at the healthiness of the specific plant foods included in these dietary patterns. These studies have shown that plant-based diets containing higher amounts of healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, oils, tea, and coffee are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. However, plant-based diets including higher amounts of less healthy plant foods, such as refined grains, potatoes/fries, and foods and beverages high in added sugar are linked to an increased risk. Contrary to popular belief, plant-based diets do not have to be vegan or vegetarian. For most people, complete elimination of meat or animal products is unrealistic and not necessary for cardiovascular health. Therefore quality of the specific components of plant-based diets is also important to consider, as not all plant-source foods have beneficial cardiovascular effects.
Hemler EC, Hu FB. Plant-Based Diets for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: All Plant Foods Are Not Created Equal. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2019 Mar 20;21(5):18.