NutritionFacts.org

heart health

Heart disease is the #1 killer in the US, and elevated cholesterol levels is thought to be a primary cause. This may explain why a plant-based diet, which is free of cholesterol and saturated animal fats, has been so successful in preventing and treating the disease (see here, here, here, here, and here). The evidence overwhelmingly shows that a plant-based diet may be protective against and even reverse heart disease. Plant foods are the only source of heart-healthy fiber , while animal-products are the only significant source of cholesterol (especially eggs and brains). Unfortunately, due to a lack of nutrition education in medical schools, many doctors may be unaware of the power of nutrition to stop our number one killer (see here, here). Instead, the most common treatment is the prescription of cholesterol-lowering drugs (see also here, here). In terms of target cholesterol level, it appears to be best to get as low as possible (see also here, here, here, here). Erectile dysfunction and other vascular insufficiency symptoms may be an early warning sign for heart disease. On a positive note, Medicare now reimburses reversing heart disease through diet (see also here, here). Unfortunately, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines have yet to follow the lead of other countries that have successfully combatted this scourge.

Eating just one egg a day may exceed the safe limit of cholesterol and has been linked to a shortened lifespan (see also here). Meat also seems to increase heart disease mortality. Even fish may not be not be as heart-healthy as once thought, due to contamination with mercury and industrial pollutants (see here, here). Dairy may increase heart disease risk because dairy products are the #1 source of saturated fat in the American diet.

There are certain plant foods which may be especially protective against heart disease, especially foods high in nitrates and antioxidants. These include greens such as kale, soy and other beans (see also here), nuts (including peanut butter), tea (especially green tea), flax seeds, whole grains, red rice, Ceylon cinnamon, coffee, cocoa (not chocolate), dried apples, Indian gooseberries (see also here), and golden raisins and currants. For additional benefits, look to cooking some vegetables (see also here), exercising 1 hour each day, and sleeping 7 hours each night.

While vitamin C supplements may be useless but harmless, most should avoid vitamin A, E, and beta-carotene supplements. Also associated with adverse cardiac consequences: coconut oil and coconut milk, dark fish, Premarin, salt, BPA in plastics, and smoking. Alcohol appears to possibly be protective against heart disease but is not recommended.

See also the related blog post: Heart disease: there is a cure

Topic summary contributed by Eitan.
To help out on the site, email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Watch videos about heart health

  • The Safer Cinnamon
    The Safer Cinnamon
    There are four common types of cinnamon: Vietnamese, Chinese (cassia), Indonesian, and Ceylon (true) cinnamon. Which is safest in terms of the level of coumarin, which may damage the liver at toxic...
  • Smoking Versus Kale Juice
    Smoking Versus Kale Juice
    The effect of kale juice on LDL and HDL cholesterol and the antioxidant capacity of the blood.
  • Vegetables Rate by Nitrate
    Vegetables Rate by Nitrate
    If nitrates can boost athletic performance and protect against heart disease, which vegetables have the most: beans, bulb vegetables (like garlic and onions), fruiting vegetables (like eggplant and...
  • Soy Worth a Hill of Beans?
    Soy Worth a Hill of Beans?
    Are soybeans better than other types of beans for heart disease prevention, or does the soy industry just have more money and clout to tout?
  • Plant-Based Atkins Diet
    Plant-Based Atkins Diet
    Harvard study found that men and women eating low carb diets live significantly shorter lives, but what about the "eco-Atkins diet," a plant-based low carbohydrate diet?
  • Atkins Diet: Trouble Keeping It Up
    Atkins Diet: Trouble Keeping It Up
    A case report in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly Journal of the American Dietetic Association) of a man who went on the Atkins diet, lost his ability to have an...
  • The Power of NO
    The Power of NO
    Antioxidants protect NO synthase, the enzyme that produces the artery-relaxing signal, nitric oxide. This may explain why those who eat especially antioxidant-rich plant foods have improved...
  • Amla Versus Diabetes
    Amla Versus Diabetes
    For a dollar a month, Indian gooseberry (amla) powder may work as well as a leading diabetes drug without the side effects.
Page 15 of 24« First...10...1314151617...20...Last »