Over decades of research one doctor has proven heart disease can be avoided but there’s a catch: to become completely immune to heart attacks and coronary heart disease you need to adopt an uncompromised plant-based diet; that’s without any meat, poultry, even fish, or dairy products, replaced by a wonderful variety of veggies, legumes, whole grains, and fruits.
Before his medical career, 82-year old Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. pulled the number sixoar as a member of the victorious USA rowing team going on to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. He was later trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London and has been published in numerous scientific publications including his benchmark, long-term nutritional research “Preventing and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients.”
The key says the silver-haired doctor lies in nutrition — specifically, in abandoning a toxic Western diet and maintaining cholesterol levels well below those historically recommended. Dr. Esselstyn says upfront one of the many benefits of a plant-based diet is something you might not have expected: “For the rest of your life, you will never again have to count calories or worry about your weight.”
Prevention and intervention are key he says and it’s the best alternative: “All cardiovascular interventional procedures carry considerable risk of morbidity, including new heart attacks, strokes, infections, and for some, an inevitable loss of cognition. By contrast, the benefits of a plant-based diet actually grow with time. The longer you follow it, the healthier you will become.”
There is nothing radical about a plant-based diet in fact such diets are mainstream for billions of people (there’s a growing vegan community right here in Bali; http://www.baliveganfestival.com/about/), it is standard fare, and heart disease and many other chronic ailments are almost unknown (of the 7.5 billion people on earth, 5 billion will never have heard of heart disease).
How to edge towards more veg? Simply, start eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Depending on how far you want to take it, you can cut back on animal products, or cut them out.
You may wish to consult with a dietitian to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients and they might recommend you take a supplement or, look for foods fortified with vitamin B12 if you totally cut out animal products and check on whether you’re getting enough iron, calcium, and zinc.
If you decide to swap dairy products for rice milk, nut milk, soya milk, or other plant-based alternatives, check the label to see how much calcium and vitamin D you’re getting. And to get enough protein without meat, eat more beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, quinoa, or tofu or, here in Bali, opt for delicious and nutritious tempé. To be sure, minimizing the amount of meat rather than eliminating it is a sensible goal initially (avoiding processed meats is especially a good idea given the carcinogens they often contain).
Esselstyn says he has seen a plant-based diet reverse younger plaque buildup, cease symptoms such as chest pain, angina and erectile dysfunction with noticeable improvements possible in less than a year. “It’s a foodborne illness, and we’re never going to end the epidemic with stents, with bypasses, with the drugs, because none of it is treating causation of the illness.”
For more information: http://www.dresselstyn.com/
Health-e reporting with sources: Choosehealthyeatingforife.com, CNN, Chicago Tribune; Abolishing heart Disease; Center for Nutrition Studies; Fact Retriever; World Life Expectancy; http://www.dresselstyn.com/