Heart Disease Reversal

Keeping cholesterol as low as possible, a total cholesterol under 150mg/dL is ideal for preventing and potentially reversing heart disease (Castelli, 2001, p.16F). Keeping LDL cholesterol under 100 mg/dL is a noble goal, however, current research indicates that an LDL cholesterol level between 50 to 70 mg/dL is ideal (O’Keefe et al., 2004, p.2142). The lower the LDL cholesterol the better. To accomplish this means limiting the amount of refined grains, processed foods, and fat within one’s diet, particularly saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. A diet containing no animal products and less than a total of 15% of total calories coming from fat has been shown to provide benefits for preventing and reversing cardiovascular disease. Most plant-based diets contain less than 15% of total calories coming from fat.

The literature shows the powerful effects diet has on cardiovascular disease. The macronutrient components within animal-based foods such as cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fats contribute to cardiovascular disease (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2002, p. 542, p. 422, p. 432). Improving everyday dietary patterns is the main focus of improving health outcomes, especially for those with cardiovascular disease who have already experienced a heart attack, or those wanting to reduce their risk as much as possible. While medication is helpful in reducing the risk of advancing atherosclerotic disease progression, changing lifestyle patterns and daily dietary habits may have the greatest impact when trying to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. While medication is a tool the physician can use, it is not be the best route for stopping the progression of atherosclerosis. According to the American Heart Association atherosclerosis is named given to the “…fatty deposits that clog arteries” (2017, para. 1). A diet high in animal fats, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and processed foods containing oils, (especially partially hydrogenated and fully hydrogenated oils), are the main contributors to cardiovascular disease (IOM, 2002, p. 542, p. 422, p. 432).

Therefore, knowing what foods to avoid because they contribute to the cause and development of cardiovascular disease allows you to make informed decisions about what foods you should choose to eat to avoid developing cardiovascular disease.

Foods to avoid: all animal-based foods, tropical oils, processed oils, and highly processed foods containing excessive amounts of sugar.

Foods to consume: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, legumes, and limited amounts of nuts and seeds.

The power to control the progression of heart disease, and even its potential reversal, is within your control. Knowing that you have control over the disease and knowing how the disease progresses is such valuable knowledge that many do not have. Being more conscious of how our daily habits impact our overall health is a great first step but the next step is changing what is on the end of our fork and spoon.

Part 1 of this 2 part series is in regards to the differences between herbivores and carnivores, cholesterol in animal products, the potential cause of osteoporosis.

Part 2 of this 2 part series is in regards to cholesterol, saturated fats and increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, exercise.

Videos on Heart Disease Reversal:

TedTalks by Physicians talking about the benefits of the power of a whole foods plant based diet.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn explains the risks associated with eating the Standard American Diet and how by changing the foods we eat, we can potentially reverse heart disease and improve our health drastically.

Dr. Dean Ornish explains the benefits of dietary change on the progression of heart disease and how addressing the cause matters more than drugs and for improving your overall health and wellbeing.

Dr. John McDougall speaks about improving health and how he discovered the benefits of a whole foods plant based diet by observing the health of his sugar plantation patients in Hawaii.

Dr. William Clifford Roberts, speaks about heart disease, the regression of atherosclerotic plaque and how lower cholesterol can greatly benefit the individual.

Nathan Pritikin: A casual Conversation with Dr. McDougall (1982)

Patient Videos on Heart Disease Reversal:


Bill Zahlar: Suffered Massive Heart Attack

Jerry: Cured his Heart Disease by Switching to a Starch Based Diet

Podcast interviews by Kirk Hamilton PA-C

Heart Disease Risk, Cholesterol and Lipids in 2011: What Do We Really Know – An Interview With William Castelli MD

Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease with a Vegan Diet – An Interview with Cardiac Surgeon Marc R. Katz, MD, MPH                 

Cardiovascular Disease and Erectile Dysfunction: Whats the Connection and 10 simple steps to Reverse Both – An Interview with David R Meldum MD

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