A new study has found that eating a vegetarian diet decreases the risk of heart failure by 42 percent.

A diet consisting of whole grains, fish, beans, and dark green leafy plants leads to a heart-healthy lifestyle, according to scientists from Icahn School of Medicine in New York, who found that those who swap processed meats and fatty foods for a mostly plant-based diet are 42 percent less likely to develop heart failure.

 

The new study conducted by Dr. Kyla Lara employed experts to examine five diets which ranged from red meats, to plant based food, sweets and alcohol over four years.

Sadly, foods such as eggs, fried food, offal, alcohol and salads were not associated with a decreased risk for heart failure. The results of the study also suggested foods to avoid may include refined carbohydrates, foods high in added sugars, trans fats, saturated fats and processed meats.

According to the CDC, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

The new study built on the work of previous studies showing that what people eat can have an impact on atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries that underlies heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

According to the Daily Mail, “A total of 15,559 participants reported their diets using a food frequency questionnaire keeping track of what they ate from five dietary patterns. These were defined as convenience consisting of red meats, pastas, fried potatoes, fast foods, plant-based consisting of dark, leafy vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, sweets consisting of desserts, breads, sweet breakfast foods, chocolate, candy, southern consisting of eggs, fried food, organ meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and alcohol/salads consisting of salad dressings, green, leafy vegetables, tomatoes, wine, butter, liquor.”

The plant-based diet had the strongest association with a decreased risk of incident heart failure when adjusted for age, sex and race of the participants and for other risk factors. No associations for the other four dietary patterns were found.

“Eating a diet mostly of dark green leafy plants, fruits, beans, whole grains and fish, while limiting processed meats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugars is a heart-healthy lifestyle and may specifically help prevent heart failure if you don’t already have it,” said Dr. Lara.

Vegan is even better than vegetarian:

Related: Eat These 9 Foods To Prevent Strokes, Heart Attacks & Diabetes

Sources: Daily Mail CDC