Plant-based diets are gradually gaining popularity, not only for its environmental-friendly reasons but also for its health benefits. More and more people are now realizing that plant-based diets are better for their bodies than the animal-based diets. 

There have been a lot of scientific evidence that proves the beneficial effects of plant-based foods on heart health, diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic conditions. Advocates of plant-based diets say that these diets can be the single most effective way to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

A plant-based diet which emphasizes on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes can not only stop chronic conditions but also can reverse it!

Of special interest is the role of plant-based diets in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases – the major cause of premature mortality across the globe. Among many studies that have been reported, a 37 year scientific study conducted by Dr.Dean Ornish, M.D and his colleagues needs special mention. The study showed that changes in diet and lifestyle can make a powerful difference in your heart function and overall well-being.[4]

With a backing scientific data, Ornish and his team began a scientifically proven program to reverse heart disease – The Dr. Dean ornish program for reversing heart disease. With a span of three months the program got world wide acceptance. As a result, in the year 2010 Medicare – The United States federal government health insurance program, announced coverage of Dr. Dean ornish’s reversal program 


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About Medicare
Medicare is the federal government program of The United States that provides health care coverage for people of age 65 or older. In some cases, people younger than age 65 can also qualify for Medicare, such as those with disabilities or who have permanent kidney failure. The Medicare program is governed by the federal agency – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This program only helps with the cost of treatment. By evaluating the evidence, U.S. Medicare system started to cover Dr. Dean Ornish cardiac Reversal rehabilitation program that includes a plant-based diet.

Now, let us discuss in detail about Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease and what made Medicare to cover this program.

Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease

Dr.Dean Ornish program for reversing heart disease is the only program that has been scientifically proven in randomized controlled trials to reverse the progression of a chronic condition such as severe coronary heart disease only by lifestyle changes, without any medication or surgery. 

This program is globally recognized through the successful results of more than 35 years of study. It is even a peer-reviewed published research that is proven to prevent, stop and even reverse the progression of heart disease. It encourages people to follow a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet, perform 30 minutes of exercise each day, practice stress management techniques and engage in supportive relationships.

Dr. Dean Ornish Reversal Program: Diet

Incorporating plant-based nutrition into patient’s diet is one of the main strategies of the Reversal Program. Their diet is rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. Some patients are allowed to include eggs whites and nonfat dairy products in diet, but are advised to exclude added fats such as nuts, seeds, oils, avocados and coconut from the diet.

Dr. Dean Ornish Reversal Program: Outcome

Patients who have undergone the program experiences significant improvement in the blood flow to the heart and their chest pain (angina) was reduced by over 90% in a span of three weeks. After one year, their coronary arteries became less clogged, and it continued to improve in the next five years.

Also, the program is proven to reverse type 2 diabetes and can even stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer.

Major Breakthrough for Medicine

Medicare decided to cover Dr. Ornish Reversal Program to help many patients avail the health benefits of the program. The decision to provide Medicare coverage for the Reversal Program came after strict internal and external reviews, after which Medicare accepted the program as a part of an intensive cardiac rehabilitation program and started to reimburse it.

Dr.Ornish presented his findings in Medicare Demonstration Project and two Medicare Coverage Advisory Commission hearings and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed to cover his reversal program under a new benefit category, ‘Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation.’

Dr. Ornish mentioned that Medicare coverage helps them to make programs much more widely available to those patients who need them the most.

With the support of healthcare company like Medicare, Dr. Dean Ornish Reversal Program offers new hope and new choices for millions of people across the world. The program assures people that a well-designed, scientifically proven program can quickly reverse heart disease and other chronic conditions and allow to sustainably transform their lives for the better.


  1. Introduction to Medicare.

  2. Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease.

  3. McMacken M, Shah S. A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. J Geriatr Cardiol. 2017;14(5):342-354.

  4. Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, et al. Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease [published correction appears in JAMA 1999 Apr 21;281(15):1380]. JAMA. 1998;280(23):2001-2007. 
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