Following a vegan diet can decrease the risk of heart disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Eating more vegetables can reduce the adverse effects of the bacteria living in the gut that are associated with cardiac diseases.
According to the study, gut microbiota plays a vital role in our metabolism, nutrient absorption, and immune response.
When humans consume red meat, gut bacteria produce a metabolite known as trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO).
TMAO has been connected to increased heart attack risk.
Following the vegan diet can reduce the amount of TMAO in the body.
The researchers examined 760 women between 30 and 55 years old. They were reporting their daily meals, sports activities, habits such as smoking or alcohol consumption and lifestyle for ten years.
The scientists measured the amount of TMAO in the blood and compared blood collections. Women who had the most significant increases in TMAO levels across the study had a 67 per cent higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
According to the scientist, TMAO levels in the second blood sample collection taken ten years later were significantly higher in participants with CHD. Every increase in TMAO was associated with a 23 per cent increase in heart disease risk.
The study also shows that decreasing TMAO levels may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
According to scientists, the gut-microbiome may be an important area to research in heart disease prevention.
Lu Qi, study co-author from Tulane University said: "Diet is one of the most important modifiable risk factors to control TMAO levels in the body.
"No previous prospective cohort study has addressed whether long-term changes in TMAO are associated with CHD, and whether dietary intakes can modify these associations," she added.