Heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States, and cholesterol is considered the cause This means that the heart disease epidemic can be essentially eliminated with a plant-based diet, which is free of cholesterol and saturated animal fat. If it’s that simple, why didn’t your doctors ever mention it? Because they may not know. The USDA has been accused of ignoring such research in creating the Dietary Guidelines, whereas in Finland they have made more evidence-based decisions. The balance of evidence suggests that a plant-based diet (for example, here, here, here, here, and here) is protective against and may even reverses heart disease. Medicare has even approved this approach to treating heart disease. Plant foods contain a lot of heart-healthy fiber and don’t have any significant amount of cholesterol, which is found in animal-products (most of all in eggs and brains).
When it comes to eggs, even eating one a day is dangerous, since it contains more than the safe limit of cholesterol (which can raise blood cholesterol levels; see also here) and has been shown to shorten one’s lifespan. Meat increases heart disease mortality. Chicken, in addition to its significant cholesterol content, may also contain arsenic (unlike its healthier alternative – plant-based chicken). Dairy contains saturated fat as well as harmful hormones and industrial pollutants. And fish should not be considered heart-healthy due to mercury. Furthermore, fish products (even distilled fish oil) contain harmful industrial pollutants.
There are many plant foods which are protective against heart disease. These include greens (especially dark leafy ones), vegetables (especially those high in nitric oxide), soy and other beans (here for a comparison), nuts (including peanut butter), tea (especially green tea), flax seeds, whole grains rather than white flour, red rice, coffee and cocoa (in powder form, not chocolate), avocadoes, Ceylon cinnamon, kale, Indian gooseberries (also here), dried fruit, and golden raisins and currants. Either raw or cooked veggies prevent heart disease (though cooking in some circumstances can boost nutrient absorption). It’s also important to exercising an hour each day, not smoke, and sleep 7 hours per night.
Pomegranate juice and vitamin C supplements have not been found to be useful, and vitamin A, vitanmin E, and Beta-Carotene supplements should probably be avoided altogether. One should also try to minimize exposure to coconut oil and coconut milk, salt, and BPA in plastics. Erectile dysfunction may be an early warning sign of heart disease. Finally, alcohol is protective against heart disease, but is not recommended.
Poultry workers exhibit an excess of heart disease deaths. A vegetable-based low carb diet is not dangerous like an animal-based one is. AGEs from diet increase heart disease as well as other diseases. Transfats, saturated fats, cholesterol and fast food should be avoided.
Dr. Greger covers heart disease in his full-length presentation, Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, where he explores the role diet may play in preventing, treating, and even reversing our top 15 killers.
See also the related blog post: Generic Lipitor is not the answer to our heart disease epidemic, Heart disease: there is a cure, The Last Heart Attack: Perfect timing for the launch of NutritionFacts.org
Topic summary contributed by Eitan.
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