The director for communications at the American Heart Association recently credited a vegan diet with helping to save her life.
Teri Arnold, who has been vegan for 17 years, had a heart attack in 2014, which was caused by a coronary artery spasm, a sudden tightening of the muscles in the arteries of the heart.
While talking to local Norfolk news station WKTR, she said that in her case, the heart attack was not preventable, but her vegan diet, which does not clog the arteries, prevented things from being worse.
“Heart disease is 80% preventable, and what I have is not preventable, but what I did, like you said, is I set myself up to be able to live a heart healthy life, and I survived the heart attack,” said Arnold.
“And that’s what we’re telling people to do,” she added.
During her appearance, she also discussed research from the American Heart Association which found that people who eat a mostly plant-based diet have a 42% reduced risk of developing heart failure if they have not already been diagnosed with heart disease.
“When you’re eating a plant-based diet, it helps to reduce cholesterol, it helps to reduce hypertension, and those are some of the major risk factors in heart attack and stroke,” Arnold stated.
“You have to keep those arteries clear, and when you’re taking in animal products from cholesterol, it clogs your arteries, and it hardens your arteries.”
“That causes blockages which creates a heart attack, which creates a stroke.”
She also offered some advice for those who may find consuming a vegan diet to be too difficult.
Arnold recommended substituting meat alternatives (which are widely available in US grocery stores) in place of meat, as she considers the meat alternatives to be healthier and just as tasty.