Convincing evidence supports the intake of specific food components, food groups, or whole dietary patterns to positively influence dyslipidemia and to lower risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Specific macro- and micro-components of a predominantly plant-based dietary pattern are vegetable fats, dietary fibers, and phytonutrients such as phytosterols. This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding effects of these components on lowering blood lipids, i.e., low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and on reducing CVD risk. The beneficial role of a plant-based diet on cardiovascular (CV) health has increasingly been recognized. Plant-based dietary patterns include a Mediterranean and Nordic diet pattern, the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH), and Portfolio diet, as well as vegetarian- or vegan-type diet patterns. These diets have all been found to lower CVD-related risk factors like blood LDL-C, and observational study evidence supports their role in lowering CVD risk. These diet patterns are not only beneficial for dyslipidemia management and prevention of CVD but further contribute to reducing the impact of food choices on environmental degradation. Hence, the CV health benefits of a predominantly plant-based diet as a healthy and environmentally sustainable eating pattern are today recommended by many food-based dietary as well as clinical practice guidelines.
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