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Heart Disease

Boost Heart Health with a Plant-Based Diet

Groundbreaking research shows that a plant-based diet doesn’t just prevent heart disease but that it can manage and sometimes even reverse it.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Eating habits and other lifestyle factors play a key role in determining the risk of heart disease.

Pioneering studies by Dean Ornish, M.D., Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., M.D., and others have shown that a low-fat, plant-based diet, combined with regular exercise and a healthy overall lifestyle, can prevent, delay, and even reverse heart disease and other cardiovascular events.

Dr. Ornish’s landmark study tested the effects of a plant-based diet on participants with moderate to severe heart disease. There were no surgeries or stents—just simple diet and lifestyle changes. Within weeks, 90 percent of chest pain diminished. After just one month, blood flow to the heart improved. After a year, even severely blocked arteries had reopened. At the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Esselstyn tested the same approach on patients with severe heart disease and published similar results. Thirty years later, all of the compliant patients are still thriving.

Plant-based diets benefit heart health because they contain no dietary cholesterol, very little saturated fat, and abundant fiber. Meat, cheese, and eggs, on the other hand, are packed with cholesterol and saturated fat, which cause plaque buildup in the arteries, eventually leading to heart disease.

A plant-based diet can also help improve several risk factors for heart disease:

  • High Blood Pressure: A plant-based diet, rich in potassium, improves blood pressure.
  • High Cholesterol: Aim for high-fiber foods, which can help lower cholesterol.
  • Atherosclerosis: Diets rich in saturated fat and cholesterol cause plaque buildup in the arteries, restricting blood flow.
  • Inflammation: Plant-based diets help reduce inflammation, which can lead to heart disease and other conditions.
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Further Reading

Resource

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook

Over 125 Delicious, Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes Ann Crile Esselstyn, Jane Esselstyn In a much-anticipated cookbook, this mother-daughter team share more than 125 delicious and nutritious recipes that make it easy to follow Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s lifesaving dietary advice from his bestselling book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.