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Reversing heart disease using plant-based diet

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Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are by far the major cause of death in the world. We know that taking prescribed medications or changing our lifestyle may help to slow the progression of heart diseases, but reversal is another matter. The question is, why? Because these medications and treatment strategies fail to address the primary cause of heart diseases.

According to researchers, plant‐based diets are associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality and its reversal. The idea that a plant-based diet could ‘reverse’ heart disease has been circulating for more than 20 years.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn is the pioneer of heart disease reversal program who promotes heart-healthy benefits of plant-based diets. He showed that plant-based diets may not only stop heart diseases but also reverse it!

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About Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn

Dr. Esselstyn is a physician, researcher, author, and former Olympic rowing champion. He was a researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic for more than 35 years. He is the first winner of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association in 2009. Dr. Esselstyn is well-known for his nutritional study involving patients with advanced heart disease —the longest study of its kind ever conducted, which was followed up with the book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

The story ofDr. Esselstyn

Despite being successful in his work, Dr. Esselstyn was disturbed by the fact that he was not able to cure the underlying causes of cardiovascular diseases. Since then, he started searching the medical literature and found some connection between plant-based nutrition and heart diseases.

Dr. Esselstyn himself switched to a plant-based diet and to his surprise, his cholesterol levels dropped from 185mg/dL to 155 mg/dL. In order to help other people also achieve such dramatic improvements, he began his research with a group of patients who joined his study after the conventional medical procedures to treat their advanced heart disease had failed. Within months of following a plant-based, oil-free diet the patients experienced remarkable effects. Their angina symptoms subsided, and their cholesterol levels dropped significantly. They also experienced a marked improvement in the blood flow to the heart.

Based on the results of his nutritional study that lasted 20 years, Dr. Esselstyn convincingly argues that a plant-based, oil-free diet can not only prevent and stop the progression of heart disease, but also help to reverse its effects. He claimed that even after twenty years, a majority of his patients continue to follow his program and remain healthy.

Dr. Esselstyn claims that a plant-based lifestyle can eliminate plaque in the arteries, restore endothelial capacity, increase nitric oxide flow, lower cholesterol levels, and prevent horrific chest pain (angina). A shift in dietary choices can help reverse the symptoms and can make us heart-attack proof. He explained his study and the science behind these dramatic results in his book- Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

About the Book: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

His book offers the readers the same simple, nutrition-based plan that has changed the lives of his patients forever. The book provides the scientific evidence, photos of angiograms, and inspiring personal stories of his patients. He even mentioned that following an oil-free plant-based diet can eliminate the need for expensive and invasive surgical interventions, such as bypass and stents, no matter how far the disease has progressed. Dr. Esselstyn also provides more than 150 delicious recipes that he and his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, have enjoyed for the past 20 years.

His book and the study received media attention when former U.S. President Bill Clinton cited it, along with the works of Dean Ornish and The China Study as the basis for his dietary change in the year 2010.

If you’re one of the millions of people who are living with or are at risk for heart disease, Dr. Esselstyn recommends switching to a plant-based diet as it can help you prevent future complications and, in some cases, reverse the damage already done to your cardiovascular system.

“Almost all of those who came to me, who had been told there was little hope, today – twenty years later – are alive, their arterial diseases receded. They stand as living proof of what is possible for you and anyone else who chooses to do what is necessary to become heart-attack proof. And they gave me the invaluable gift of confidence as I went on to counsel and treat hundreds of additional patients.”

— Dr Esselstyn

Reference:

  1. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/dr-caldwell-esselstyn/ .Accessed on: 25-11-2020.
  2. Dr. Esselstyn. https://gingerkale.org/dr-esselstyn/ . Accessed on:25-11-2020.
  3. Esselstyn CB Jr.We Can Prevent and Even Reverse Coronary Artery Heart Disease. MedGenMed. 2007;9(3):46. Published 2007 Aug 31.
  4. Esselstyn CB. A plant-based diet and coronary artery disease: a mandate for effective therapy. J Geriatr Cardiol. 2017;14(5):317-320. doi:10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.05.004

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1 Comment

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