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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Linda

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn is a practitioner pioneer who showed that plant-based diets may not only stop heart disease, but reverse it.

Dr. Esselstyn is best known for his landmark clinical study and follow-up book (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease) involving patients with advanced heart disease from his practice as a heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. He put the patients on a low-fat, whole-food plant-based diet. All of those who followed the diet experienced significant improvement, in some cases actual reversal of near end-stage heart disease.

Since that study, Dr. Esselstyn switched to a plant-based diet himself and has worked to convince the medical profession that they should inform patients of dietary strategies for treating chronic diseases rather than assuming that they would not be willing to make changes in their diets. He reminds doctors and the public about the significant risks in heart bypass operations, including the potential to cause further heart damage, stroke, and brain dysfunction. 

So compelling is the evidence from his own studies and those of others that Dr. Esselstyn has called heart disease a “paper tiger” that need never exist and where it does now, need never progress.

 

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