Lifestyle medicine pioneer Nathan Pritikin, who reversed his own heart disease through diet and went on to help millions of others, wasn’t a doctor or dietician but an engineer.
Before Esselstyn, before Ornish, there was Nathan Pritikin… an unlikely candidate to launch a lifestyle medicine revolution. He wasn’t a doctor; wasn’t a dietician. He was an engineer. And so when he got diagnosed with heart disease in his 40s he was not satisfied with the medical professions fatalism. This was, after all, at a time when doctors still preferred Camels.
So he did his own research, he experimented, he studied the diets of cultures around the world— particularly Uganda, and finally arrived at a plant-based diet, dropping his cholesterol from 280 down to 94, reversing his own heart disease before going on to do the same for thousands of others before he tragically lost his 28-year battle with radiation-induced leukemia.
Before he died, though, he directed that his body be autopsied. he wanted to show the world what his diet could do. The autopsy findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Thirty years after his original heart disease diagnosis, considered incurable at the time, his coronary arteries were found to soft and pliable and widely patent throughout. In a man 69 years old, the near absence of atherosclerosis and complete absence of its effects are remarkable.”
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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Nathan Pritikin's work saved my grandmother's life. Watch my story here. Dr. Dean Ornish then published something along these same lines (see for example Our Number One Killer Can Be Stopped). Pritikin's life's work continued through his research foundation, switching its focus from heart disease to cancer, as I feature in my 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. Tomorrow we start that journey: a three-week video series on dietary changes capable of enabling one's body to reverse cancer cell growth—buckle your seat belts!
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For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk, Cancer-Proofing Your Body, How Do Plant-Based Diets Fight Cancer?, Vegan Men: More Testosterone But Less Cancer, Prevent Breast Cancer by Any Greens Necessary, Flaxseeds for Prostate Cancer, and Treating Breast Pain with Diet