Image Credit: Dustin Kirkpatrick.

How Not to Die from Heart Disease

The most likely reason most of our loved ones will die is heart disease. It’s up to each of us to make our own decisions about what to eat and how to live, but we should make these choices consciously by educating ourselves about the predictable consequences of our actions.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, begins in childhood. The arteries of nearly all kids raised on the standard American diet already have fatty streaks marking the first stage of the disease—by the time they are ten years old. After that, the plaques start forming in our 20s, get worse in our 30s, and then can start killing us off. In our heart, it’s called a heart attack, and in our brain, it can manifest as a stroke. So for anyone  reading this who is older than ten years old, the choice isn’t whether or not to eat healthfully to prevent heart disease—it’s whether or not you want to reverse the heart disease you likely already have.

Is that even possible? When researchers took people with heart disease and put them on the kind of plant-based diet followed by populations who did not get epidemic heart disease, their hope was that it might slow down the disease process or maybe even stop it. Instead, something miraculous happened. The disease actually started to reverse. It started to get better. As I show in my video How Not to Die from Heart Disease, as soon as patients stopped eating artery-clogging diets, their bodies were able to start dissolving away some of the plaque, opening up arteries without drugs and without surgery, suggesting their bodies wanted to heal all along but just were never given the chance. That improvement in blood flow to the heart muscle itself was after only three weeks of eating healthfully.

Let me share with you what’s been called the best-kept secret in medicine: Sometimes, given the right conditions, the body can heal itself. Take, for instance, what happens when you accidentally whack your shin really hard on a coffee table. It gets red, hot, painful, swollen, and inflamed, but it’ll heal naturally if you just stand back and let your body work its magic. What would happen, though, if you kept whacking your shin in the same place, day after day, or three times a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)? It would never heal! You might turn to your doctor, complaining of shin pain, and would probably limp out of the office with a prescription for painkillers. You’d still be whacking your shin three times a day, but the pain would be a little duller, thanks to those pills you’d be popping.

It’s similar to people taking nitroglycerine for crushing chest pain. They may get tremendous relief, but they’re not doing anything to treat the underlying cause. Our body wants to come back to health if we let it, but if we keep re-damaging ourselves three times a day, we may never heal.

One of the most amazing things I learned in all my medical training was that within about 15 years after you stop smoking, your lung cancer risk approaches that of a lifelong nonsmoker. Isn’t that amazing? Your lungs can clear out all that tar, and, eventually, it’s almost as if you never smoked at all. Just think, every morning of your smoking life, your body started on that path to healing, until…wham!…you inhaled on that first cigarette of the day, reinjuring your lungs with every puff. In the same way, we can reinjure our arteries with every bite. But, all we have to do all along—the miracle cure—is just stand back, get out of the way, stop re-damaging ourselves, and let our body’s natural healing processes bring us back towards health. The human body is a self-healing machine.

Sure, you could choose moderation and hit yourself with a smaller hammer, but why beat yourself up at all? I don’t tell my smoking patients to cut down to half-a-pack a day. I tell them to quit. Sure, smoking a half pack is better than two packs, but we should try to put only healthy things into our mouths.

We’ve known about this for decades. Take the case of Mr. F.W., for example, as published in 1977 in the American Heart Journal. He had such bad heart disease he couldn’t even make it to the mailbox without crushing chest pain. But he started eating strictly plant-based and a few months later he was climbing mountains without pain.

There are fancy new anti-angina  drugs out now. They cost thousands of dollars a year, but at the highest dose, they may only be able to prolong exercise duration for as long as… 33.5 seconds. It doesn’t seem as though patients choosing the drug route will be climbing mountains anytime soon.

Plant-based diets aren’t just safer and cheaper. They can work better because they let us treat the actual cause of the disease.

The first time someone visits can be overwhelming. With videos on more than 2,000 health topics, where do you even begin? Imagine stumbling onto the site not knowing what to expect and the new video-of-the-day is about how a particular spice can be effective in treating a particular form of arthritis. It would be easy to miss the forest for the trees, which is precisely why I created this series of overview videos that are essentially taken straight from my live, hour-long 2016 presentation How Not to Die: Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers.

And don’t miss these other videos in this overview series:

Inspired to learn more about the role diet may play in preventing and treating heart disease? Check out these other popular videos on the topic:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

92 responses to “How Not to Die from Heart Disease

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  1. Anderson Cooper talked about the brand new study where it turns out that they can’t prove that red meat is bad for you.

    The confused entertainment community takes the bait again.

      1. You are right. It is a space filler.

        The fact that most Americans learn nutrition from those space fillers is too bad.

        I think that most people actually learn from people talking about what they heard on television the other night or what they read.

        Like one big telephone game.

        One person sees it and tells everybody at work and another person agrees and only one or two of the people actually heard the space filler segment on the news firsthand, but six months from now every body is talking about it.

        That is exactly what happened with butter as a topic.

    1. Red and Processed Meat Guideline Recommendations | Annals of Internal Medicine –

      **The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

      **“The guidelines (eat less meat) are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

      **David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

      It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

      **There is also evidence of possible health benefits of omnivorous versus vegetarian diets on such outcomes as muscle development and anemia.

      **“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

      NEW Fish Oil Study – Taking fish oil may reduce fatal heart attack risks,
      study finds –

      In this new analysis, the researchers did an updated meta-analysis that included three recently completed large-scale trials, which increased the sample size by 64 percent. The total population analyzed by Hu and colleagues included more than 120,000 adults in 13 randomized trials worldwide. The analysis included the VITAL trial, the largest randomized trial of omega-3s to date.

      Omega-3 fish oil found in salmon and tuna lowers the risk of heart diseases and reduces the risk of fatal heart attacks by eight percent.

      ‘This meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence regarding the effects of omega-3 supplementation on risk of multiple CVD outcomes.

      ‘We found significant protective effects of daily omega-3 supplementation against most CVD outcome risks and the associations appeared to be in a dose-response manner.’

      ‘Public health recommendations should focus on increasing fish consumption, having an overall heart-healthy diet, being physically active, and having other healthy lifestyle practices,’ noted Dr JoAnn Manson, chief of the Division of Preventitive Medicine.

      1. Greg,

        “The aim of this group was not to reaffirm that eating more meat produces more disease, although indeed their data show exactly that, in alignment with all the prior data. Their aim was to say that the evidence is weak.

        Accordingly, they scored their own data using the methods they prefer (there are other methods, better suited)- and declared their findings very weak. They then proceeded to publish- along with their research papers- so-called “guidelines” recommending the opposite of what they found. In other words, the conclusion they claimed to draw from their own work was: everyone should just go ahead and keep eating meat and processed meat. That is why the health news will be abuzz with this tale now, and for some time.” (

        There’s much more to this comment; it’s well worth reading.

      2. Where do these toxic fish get their Omega 3’s from?
        Why don’t we just skip the toxins & cholesterol and get Our Omega 3’s from the original whole food source…Algae or getting ALA from chia, flax, et al?
        Just “whole food” for thought.

      3. Greg

        This is your usual copy-paste dump of iffy studies designed to prove that meat etc is harmless if not actually healthy.

        The fact is that the World Health Organization has reviewed all the evidence and concluded that processed meat is carcinogenic and red meat is ‘probably carcinogenic’. The World Cancer Research Fund also reviewed all the evidence and concluded that red and processed meat increases the risk of (colorectal) cancer. Red meat is also high in saturated fat which had been conclusively demonstrated to increase cardiovascular disease risk. This is why guidelines around the world recommend that red meat consumption ne eliminated or decreased to reduce the risk of premature death. Indeed multiple good quality studies over the years have shown an increased risk of early death from 9red) meat consumption. An example from earlier this year is one from Harvard:

        ‘People who increased their daily servings of red meat over an eight-year period were more likely to die during the subsequent eight years than those who did not increase their red meat consumption, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study also found that decreasing red meat and simultaneously increasing healthy alternative food choices over time was associated with lower mortality.

        A large body of evidence has shown that greater consumption of red meat, especially processed red meat, is associated with higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, including those of the colon and rectum, and premature death.’

        As for that paper by a self-selected consortium of academic, health experts around the owrld describe it as irresponsible and misleading. Of course, if you do studies comparing meat consumption to background Western diets high in ultra-processed foods and refined carbs, then yes meat probably will appear relatively harmless. As one expert commented on that paper you cited “What we’ve seen is that Americans seem to be committed to eating horribly in a number of fascinatingly different ways,” Gardner said. “You’re not eating meat. Great! What did you have for dinner instead? Oh, a highly processed cheese pizza — no wonder your health hasn’t improved.”

        Do you actually eat all that stuff – red meat, cheese, butter, bacon, eggs etc – yourself? if so, how old are you and how’s your health?

        Surely you must be aware that Dr Grgeger recommends omega 3 oil supplementation? He advises obtaining it from algal sources to eliminate any potential risk of mercury, PCB etc might possibly occur with fish-sourced oils.

  2. Dr. G. said: “within about 15 years after you stop smoking, your lung cancer risk approaches that of a lifelong nonsmoker.”
    – – – – – –

    There are always exceptions, of course. I knew a woman who, although she gave up ciggies 30 years earlier, died from lung cancer nevertheless.

    1. I knew a woman who had never smoked and yet died of lung cancer at age 62. No overweight, healthy lifestyle, happy wife, mother and grandmother. Less than a year from first symptoms to death in spite of best treatment. So sad… Lots of money to finance research into drugs and treatments, no money to support investigation in order to actually determine causes of cancer.

    2. Yep, two more exceptions here. My grandmother stopped smoking, and 25 years later died of lung cancer. My dad has lung cancer now and never smoked in his life. :(

      1. 15% of lung cancers are found in people who have never smoked

        They do know some of the factors which increase risk.

        Secondhand smoke increases risk by 25%.

        Exposure to Radon and asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, and tar increases the risk.

        There are certain occupations and working or living in certain areas of the country and old buildings that increase exposure increases the risk.

        Living in places with a lot of air pollution increases the risk.

        There are also genetic factors.

        Plus, dietary factors, probably not eating cruciferous would be a risk factor.

        Plus, they unexpectedly found a higher risk of lung cancer among smokers who took beta-carotene supplements.

        Exercise and not eating animal products can lower the risk, even in smokers. (The Okinawans were smokers who didn’t tend to get lung cancer until they changed their diets.)

  3. This seems to be another case of people finding an association between two variables – low blood pressure and dementia – and simplisyically assuming one must cause the other. In this case, that, low BP causes dementia. it’s a rather odd assumption to make because high BP in younger people has long been identified as a dementia risk factor. Still, it’s qn hypothesis guaranteed to garner some media attention.

    It’s possible of course since the braindoes need adequate blood flow to support adequate brain functioning. Nevertheless low BP in older people is common – possibly because of plaque build-up in the blood vessels. – as is dementia

    its conceivable therefore that both low BP and dementia in older people is caused by one or more other variables.

  4. The Nutrition Source Just criticized:

    A controversial “dietary guidelines recommendation” published in Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that adults can continue to consume red meat and processed meat at current levels of intake. [1]

    If the current article is true, it would undercut the relevance of “NutritionalFacts” and the many studies we rely upon.

    Please address this recent “Research” (sic).



    1. PCRM points out that their results depended on very heavy adjustments, meaning if red meat causes early mortality or some specific illness indirectly, that would have been thrown out by their adjustments. It is interesting to me that this article and their recommendations has come out during a period when more and more health orgs are recommending WFPB diets. Suspicious, one might think.

    2. Greg, how about you address the fact that the Ornish and Esselstyne diets work to heal patients with heart disease!
      I don’t see any studies showing that patients get better eating meat.

  5. I am well aware of the benefits of a plant based diet for heart disease, but what about
    the benefits of this diet for autoimmune diseases such as Hoshimoto’s? Not much literature other than a few testimonials regarding the positive outcomes of a plant based diet and this autoimmune condition. Ultimately, Hoshimotos can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease if not treated or well controlled.
    Any thoughts on this topic?

    1. I don’t think there is a lot of information on it because a lot of people get relief by eliminating grains and beans from their diet who are autoimmune, including me. Those sources of plant protein need to be replaced by….animal products. That’s why AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) is so popular. I am a huge fan of Dr Greger and his publications but I have yet to see anything positive from the plant based community when I say I have to shun grains and legumes and eat meat so I can walk without pain and not have chronic fatigue. I am trying to do the best I can, lots of fruits, vegetables, turmeric, etc and just fish and white meat. At the same time, the AIP Dr’s tend to swing the other way and be real heavy on the fatty meats and organs. Look up Dr. Terry Wahls MD, Sarah Ballantyne PhD, and Amy Myers MD. I wish Greger would take another look at the work these doctors and even Dr Steven Gundry MD are doing in this area. Gundry was bashed for some of the BS stats he quoted in his book, but I DO react to lectins (or something else in beans/grains/dairy/eggs?) no matter what Greger’s videos say. The studies clearly show grains and legumes are a healthy addition to MOST peoples diets. I however do not see any distinction when talking about people with gut/autoimmunity/food sensitivities. If anyone has information on this I would love to hear it.

      1. Lee, I have more than one autoimmune disease including psoriatic arthritis, and AIP was the source of a major flare for me. I toyed with AIP and Dr. Gundry and consider that both concepts put me in danger of my life. Nothing works as well as a plant-based diet for me. My body loves beans and hates meat. I have only one exception: gluten. One month off gluten took away my PsA symptoms. A full year cleared my skin. WFPB no gluten gives me a life without symptoms from any of the autoimmune diseases that plagued me for decades (Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, thyroid issues that were probably Hashimoto’s). I eat oatmeal, quinoa, and buckwheat when I want grain-like food and the only trouble they can cause is weight gain when I eat too much. Apparently, you react differently, but don’t assume that most people with autoimmune disease must shun grain and legumes. I know a lot of fellow sufferers who have found relief the same way I have. Clint Paddison has done some amazing work with rheumatoid arthritis on a WFPB diet. There may be a genetic or gut biome explanation for people who don’t thrive on it. Honestly, I worked through all the people you mentioned and it was disastrous for me. I hope you find a symptomless diet for yourself.

      2. Lee, I know that people can react to certain foods. That is very common, and more people are reacting to wheat for instance now than in the past.
        But I have had several patients who thought they were reacting to the food when it was the chemicals or glyphosate on them. Some have found when they get organic they are fine.
        You may react to certain grains or legumes ( pea protein and peanuts are common). But I have not seen anyone who has a problem with all grains, or all beans/legumes.
        Maybe try some you have not had before. There are so many choices available.

    2. Sue,

      The Adventist study (97,000 people), reported that people who followed a vegan diet were less likely to develop hypothyroidism, compared to those following the Standard American Diet.

      However, it needs to be a nutritionally sound version of a vegan diet and they need to get enough iodine and B12 and not have anemia.

      There are specific things, which can cause leaky gut, which precedes autoimmune conditions. Dr. McDougall speaks about animal proteins. I have seen PubMed articles that salt can contribute to leaky gut. Gluten may contribute. Dairy is another. RoundUp is something I have on my list because of the weakening tight junctions, but I am not sure that I actually heard someone mention leaky gut with RoundUp. Tight junctions are why I say RoundUp.

      There are foods like cabbage juice and broccoli sprouts, which help heal leaky gut.

      Cabbage juice is one of the best. It works in as few as 10 days.

    3. Hello Sue,

      Unfortunately there isn’t much research discussing Hashimotos and diet; however, we do know that those following plant-based diets have a lower risk of hypothyroidism. Since Hashimotos is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, it may help reduce risk as well. There is also some evidence of plant-based diets helping with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, but again, nothing on Hashimotos in particular. Ultimately, you have to weigh the risks and benefits of any therapy, and while a plant-based diet may not fix the problem, there also aren’t any concerning risks of a plant-based diet.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt

  6. Yes, diet is extremely important for sustained health and disease prevention, AND another critical component of longevity is supplementing any deficient hormones like testosterone for men and estrogen and/or progesterone for woman ONLY with BIO-IDENTICAL hormones! Get your levels tested, educate yourself, you can eat perfectly and still get heart attacks or strokes with LOW hormone levels. Natural Hormones are miracle drugs for the entire cardiovascular system and they always drop off with aging and that drop off causes bone loss as well. Bio-Identicals fix mood issues as well

    1. John

      Where is the evidence for these claims that that they are ‘miracle drugs for the cardiovascular system’? As far as I am aware, there is no good evidence for such claims.

      Frankly, it sounds like a sales pitch to me. You weren’t told this by people who sell bio-identical hormones, by any chance?

  7. As usual, not one word about 100% grass fed ruminant.

    (BTW: I’ve noticed most people here don’t know the difference between organic ruminant and 100% grass fed ruminant.)

    1. “If you think your taste buds are so incredibly important that their pleasure outweighs the entire life and suffering of an innocent being, I don’t even know how you can get offended when people question your morals.”

      “The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future – deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease.” — The World Watch Institute

      “There will come a time in the future where we look back in shame at how we ate and used other animals for our pleasure. We will recoil at the violence we sowed upon them for our selfish desires. Just like all forms of oppression and exploitation that have come before us, animal exploitation will end. Which side of history will you be on when the history books have been written?”

    2. Sydney

      You continually blame Greger because there is no evidence to support your beliefs about organic grass fed meat. If you have any such evidence, why not post it here? It’s a bit much for you to blame Greger because no such evidence exists.

      The fact is that all red meat is high in saturated fat, cholesterol, haem iron, IGF-1 and NeuG5c. Unless you are are a Bangladeshi agricultural day labourer living on white rice, hydrogenated cooking oil and a very limited range of other foods, you aren’t likely to benefit from adding that stuff to your diet in place of healthy whole plant foods.

  8. About T- Shirts (advertised in separate eMail):

    It says T-Shirts are made of recycled bottles. That means plastics. But there was recently an article here about how UNHEALTHY are plastics.

  9. Please Dr Gregor could you comment on an American Heart Association article that appeared in The Palm Beach Post Real News Starts Here section. (October 1,2019. My husband & I have both of your books and follow it as closely as we can. We are confused by this article.

    1. Lisa

      Low blood pressure is common in older people. It can be the result of decades of plaque build-up in blood vessels. According to WebMD ‘blood flow to the heart muscle and the brain declines with age, often as a result of plaque buildup in blood vessels. An estimated 10% to 20% of people over age 65 have postural hypotension.’

      Dementia risk, especially vascular dementia, is also increased as a result of decades of plaque build-up in blood vessels.

      It’s unsurprising therefore that there is an association between low blood pressure and dementia in older people. The association has been known for many years.

      However in younger people, high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for dementia in later life.

      The point is that if people have low blood pressure in later life because of a healthy diet and lifestyle, there is no evidence of increased dementia risk. However, most older people who develop low blood pressure almost certainly do so because of disease and unhealthy lifestyle factors such as the standard American diet.

      If you are eating a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle, and consequently enjoy low blood pressure with no symptoms, I seriously doubt that you are at increased risk of dementia – quite the fact.

      ‘We think that relatively low blood pressure is probably a complication of the dementia process, particularly Alzheimer’s disease’

        1. That was a great study! Statistically significant and linear for cardiac categories. It matches what they found in Finland

          I was trying to understand this sentence: No significant interactions between the cardiovascular health level exposures and either sex or APOEε4 allele on dementia risk were found

          Does that mean that if you get the heart risk factors right the gene is not even important at all?

          I guess I don’t understand what the words “interactions” and “health level exposures” mean.

          Is it that if you get the heart disease risk factors right, gender doesn’t matter and APOE doesn’t matter?

  10. Are there any testimonials from any of you in reading audience who has arteriosclerosis and angina and has reversed it by eating plant based. I am in that position now and need encouragement from others who are currently doing it. I have been plant based couple of months. My numbers are down but not where they should. Thanks Dr Gregor and all who write on here. I have learned much.


    1. Wanda:

      A few months ago Dr Greger reported that there is a particular fatty acid in chicken that is most responsible for arterial plaque and also that nuts could reverse arterial plaque.

      So I stopped eating chicken and increased the amount of nuts I eat.

      Results: Plaque in my carotid artery definitely shrank. (I need to take another test to see if it shrank further.)

    2. Wanda,

      From Dr. Greger’s blog

      “Dr. Dean Ornish demonstrated how simply putting cardiac patients on a quasi-vegan diet, without any change in their exercise regimens, could lower patients’ angina attacks by 90% within just 24 days.”

  11. Thank you Doctor Greger, I have read yours books and my life changed. You give me a second chance to live.

    I’m from Brazil.
    Paulo Roberto Chedid

        1. Anthony, there is a website Cookie+Kate that has a lot of plant based recipes. They are not all vegan, but she usually has additional instructions at the end for making the recipe vegetarian and/or vegan. At least you can get some creative ideas and pictures there.

        2. Anthony,

          There are a lot of Vegan, no-oil recipes free online.

          McDougall has a lot of recipes posted on their website.
          T. Colin Campbell has recipes posted.
          Rip Esselstyn has some.

          Those are all free.

          Chef AJ has videos and she has a cookbook.

          Sites like High Carb Hannah and Happy, Healthy Vegan and Mic The Vegan have cookbooks and videos on YouTube.

          Dr. Fuhrman has a cookbook and his followers often post recipes on YouTube.

          On top of that, almost all of the regular cooking sites have vegan, no oil options.

          Plus, sites like Sparkpeople and Fit2Me, have whole databases categorized.

          And if you aren’t entirely saturated by then, here is a link to the Top 50 Oil-free Plant Based websites on the internet.

      1. i recommend Seligman’s seminal book ‘Learned Optimism’, having first read a lbrary copy and sunsequently purchasing a second-hand copy.

  12. My husband had a heart attack and they found out he has congestive heart failure too and is diabetic. (He ate what he wanted and made fun of my vegan food – until this heart attack!) He had some fluid on his lungs and has a cough that is congested-sounding, even after all the medications they are giving him. I now have him on “as plant-based a diet as he can take,” and he has lost over 30 pounds so far.
    My question is: I don’t see much on congestive heart failure – can that be reversed when it has progressed as far as his has? I don’t want anyone giving me the soft version – I would rather know the truth. He is 69 years old and also has high blood pressure, even though that has been lowering.
    In the past three months, he has been able to get off of two medications and cut down on some, and he is starting to exercise, but that cough is still there.
    So, will he keep getting worse and is death a year or a few years away, in your opinion? Or, can he become totally healed if he sticks to a plant-based diet from here on out? (I don’t see that scenario in CHF articles anywhere, so I won’t be shocked by bad news.)

    1. Barb,
      Dr. Gregers grandmother was diagnosed with end stage Heart Disease and given 6-months to live, at age 61. She entered the Nathan Pritican clinic, changed her eating habits and lived another 30+ years. The good doctor describes this in some of his lectures…so this should give hope. Also, check out Dr. Dean Ornish’s books and research.

      1. Barb Noon, plant based diet and losing excess pounds is the way to go. And many patients do better on a nutrient rich diet to heal. So not only plant based, but also really healthy choices. You can be guided by Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen.

        The study I’m posting is a meta-analysis about the use of Ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10. The study is a compilation of many studies. It concludes that those patients with an ejection fraction of 30% or higher have the best odds of turning this around. But some patients with a lower one still did improve.
        Be aware that being on statins in particular, and certain other drugs, can block the body producing Ubiquinol. So more would be needed to counteract that if your husband is taking those types of drugs.
        In general those studies that showed success used a minimum of 100mg. per day made by a reputable manufacturer.

        1. Great suggestions! I don’t know his ejection fraction and I am sure he doesn’t know it either. All I know is he has a “stiff heart,” not on the pumping out, but the bringing back in, so he doesn’t get enough blood to pump back out! Something about his aortic valve too.

          I need to see his medical records, because it drives me crazy not to know the details!

          I am low fat, low oil plant based (for a year) and vegan for 9 1/2 years. Husband is extremely stubborn, but I am trying to help him!

    2. Barb,

      Dr. Ornish said a sentence about reversing heart conditions – that the bigger the dietary changes people make the bigger the improvements and more miraculous the outcomes. Smaller changes still get some benefits.

      My grandmother had Congestive Heart Failure for 15 or 20 years and it didn’t really affect her until the end of her life.

      She did have to watch her sodium intake and they say to watch refined carbs. I saw an article that you want an anti-inflammatory diet and to try to keep Homocysteine low (and that means eat plant sources of folate and supplement B12 and things like Vitamin D and Omega 3 all lower Homocysteine.

      Staying low saturated fats and low sodium are two biggies.

      Congratulations on how much you have already achieved!

      I remember the study, which Marylin is speaking about. There are more than one and CoEnzyme Q/Ubiquinol lowered hospitalizations from it by almost 40% and also decreased pulmonary edema by 61%.


      A high-quality plant-based diet also decreased hospitalizations by about 40%.

      But eating refined carbs increased the risks, so it has to be as Whole Food Plant-Based as possible for full effect.

    3. Barb

      The blunt answer is ‘probably not’. The main goal of CHF treatment appears to be to prevent disease progression.

      You may find the two links below informative:

      However, I am not a clinician much less an MD so take what I say with a very large grain if salt. One of the site’s volunteers who actually is a physician, may be able to respond with a much better answer. Unfortunately, they are not always able to respond to queries because of other commitments.

    4. Hi Barb,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for coming to with your question.

      There are case reports (basically articles published on 1-3 individuals) of people dramatically improving their CHF symptoms, but we don’t have any strong evidence (randomized clinical studies) to know for certain. I have seen at least 4 of these case reports of people with CHF all improve on a plant-based diet, but this doesn’t mean that there weren’t other patients who tried it and were unsuccessful. The research on plant-based diets for people with CHF is just too incomplete at this point to indicate how beneficial a plant-based diet is. Overall, there are benefits from eating a whole food, plant-based diet outside of CHF (beneficial for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) that may justify the use of a plant-based diet, as it seems your husband has already experienced. Regarding the CHF, however, please make sure you inform your husband’s physician about the switch to a plant-based diet (if you have not already done so), and work closely with his physician regarding medication changes and any other necessary symptoms or adverse reactions.

      I hope this helps, even though we only have preliminary evidence to suggest that a plant-based diet may be beneficial for CHF patients. I wish the evidence were stronger, but in time, I believe it will be. I wish you and your family the very best!

  13. Hi Dr. Greger, We’ve just had news in the UK that meat (beef AND processed pork products) are ok for people. They had a lengthy programme / discussion on the radio yesterday. I thought the radio reporting was really inadequate and misleading.
    Here is the BBC article:
    I’ll also try to link it on your fb page. Kind Regards, Samantha

    1. Dear Sam,

      After coming to this site, if you are are expecting to hear Dr. Greger contradict his own advice…then please carry-on and
      consume your Beef, Pork, Lamb, Salami, Bologna, Pate, Fowl, Fish, and whatever tickles your palette. Peace. Life is too short to deny its pleasures..!

  14. Hello Dr.Greger! This article is excellent and very necessary for everyone. As soon as I’ve read I shared it in Facebook to my 4,000 plus friends. You are my most favorite doctor in the world. I love you! So happy to have you among us in 21st century and beyond. I believe “How Not To Die” will be definitely come true within our life times. I mean your life time and even my life time because I am 70, that close. Thank you for being there and sending out very precious health and medical issues.

    1. erdal,

      That is wonderful that you have shared the message with your 4000 plus friends on Facebook!

      The more people who share it, the more people hear the message and, from what I have experienced, there is a sort of 100th monkey phenomenon in health.

      Back in the 80’s they used to talk about the 100th monkey. They would say that for group dynamics, if 99 monkeys did something the old way, the greater society of monkeys would adopt that way, but onc the 100th monkey changed to the new way, the greater society of monkeys would change.

      It was a rally cry back then and they used to say things like, “When you feel powerless to change things, remember that you could be the 100th monkey.” and I believe it was debunked, but I also do know 100% that it is true in the social groups I have been part of. Maybe it isn’t the particular number of people, it might be more that enough charismatic, attractive, extraverts suddenly switch and everybody suddenly hears it or something.

      I just know that suddenly, the soy police get their message everywhere and then, suddenly everybody goes keto and does intermittent fasting and it has always been the fruits and vegetables which never had a good enough PR team, but it is getting there.

      1. There is a society version of when information “goes viral” and it is way bigger than when things go viral on the internet.

        Suddenly, every picnic or church potluck event has someone making something WFPB and talking about it and the TV commercials add hummus into the tailgating advertisement and Burger King gets the Impossible Burger and everybody searches for vegan meals at Thanksgiving, etc.

        Even just Googling Whole Food Plant-Based is a political activism step almost everybody can afford to do.

        1. I still Google “Dr. Greger” and “” and “Vegan no-oil recipes” almost every day because I do know that the Press and Hollywood and Industry and the government are all looking at things like that to see how to use what they know about us from our searches.

          I would rather they try to manipulate me by trying to appeal to that side than by trying to sell me something else.

            1. It was the 1970’s.

              It was a pre-internet urban legend, which spread like wildfire, and which might not have been exactly true, but which also wasn’t necessarily wrong.


              Meaning, if you look at societal behavioral changes, they certainly DO happen and somehow it is a certain number of people Google “vegan Thanksgiving” and then, the press reports on it and then the Industries look for ways to make money on it and suddenly someone figures out how to market it and society does change.

              To me, the bigger message is that if enough individuals change, the wider culture gets changed for better or worse and when certain parts of the culture change, like Hollywood or government, suddenly everybody starts wearing their seat belts or a helmet, etc.

              1. You can’t tell me that the Instapot isn’t a Hundredth Monkey Effect.

                And, after it had already gone socially viral for a few years, this year, Food Schmooze had a conversation where the Foodies ask, “Should I try it?” and one says, “Yes, I got rid of my crockpot and rice cooker” and that will get people who never would have to try it and every month on the radio they mention, “And I got rid of my crockpot and rice cooker” and then, you go to a party and people say the exact wording.

  15. I took your advice years ago, along with Dr. Dean Ornish’s program for “Reversing Heart Disease”, lost 40 pounds, and now hike for 1.5 hours a day without any pain or meds.
    Your intro about your Grandmother hooked me.
    I went out and bought 4 copies of your book.
    Gave a copy to my 3 kids, and my girlfriend at the time.

  16. Do you think taking supplements specifically for circulatory health will actually help my heart? I have heard some good things about essential oils but I would like to hear from a reputable source about the matter.

    1. Hello Rick,

      Because essential oils are very concentrated, they are generally not recommended for internal consumption; however, there are some things you can try to improve circulation. If you haven’t already, eliminating oils is an important step to take as they prevent dilation of blood vessels. After that, the next step is to add vinegars to meals. This can be balsamic, apple cider, or standard white vinegar.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt, Health Support

  17. What about the research in this Squarespace vid clip that seems to promote the Ketogenic diet?
    Our family member is using this approach and so is a neurologist friend, both lost weight, claim that they feel energetic, etc..
    Our nephew just had a small heart attack at age 35, one stent place in, doctors say it’s a genetic issue, he eats beef, lean meat, fish and was a fitness enthusiast mostly weight lifting.
    We have sent Dr. Gregor’s vid clips on heart disease but they still stick to this type of diet. Thank you.

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