I was only a kid when doctors sent my grandmother home in a wheelchair to die at age 65. Diagnosed with end-stage heart disease, she had already had so many bypass operations the surgeons essentially ran out of plumbing—the scarring from each open-heart surgery had made the next more difficult until they finally ran out of options. Confined to a wheelchair with crushing chest pain, her doctors told her there was nothing else they could do.
I think what sparks many kids to want to become doctors when they grow up is watching a beloved relative become ill or even die. For me, it was watching my grandma get better.
Soon after she was discharged, a segment aired on 60 Minutes about Nathan Pritikin. He had been gaining a reputation for reversing terminal heart disease and had just opened a new center—a live-in program where everyone was placed on a plant-based diet and then started on a graded exercise regimen. My grandmother somehow made the trek to become one of its first patients. They wheeled her in, and she walked out.
Later featured in Pritikin’s biography Pritikin: The Man Who Healed America’s Heart, she was described as one of the “death’s door people”:
“Frances Greger…arrived in Santa Barbara at one of Pritikin’s early sessions in a wheelchair. Mrs. Greger had heart disease, angina, and claudication; her condition was so bad she could no longer walk without great pain in her chest and legs. Within three weeks, though, she was not only out of her wheelchair but was walking ten miles a day.”
At that time, reversing heart disease didn’t even seem possible. Drugs were given to try to slow the progression, and surgery was performed to circumvent clogged arteries to try to relieve symptoms (literally bypassing the problem), but the disease was expected to worsen until you died. Today, we know that as soon as we stop eating an artery-clogging diet, our bodies may start healing themselves, in many cases opening up arteries without drugs or surgery.
By the time I became a doctor, giants like Dean Ornish, M.D., had already proven beyond a shadow of a doubt what Pritikin had shown to be true. Using the latest high-tech advances—cardiac PET scans, quantitative coronary arteriography, and radionuclide ventriculography—Dr. Ornish and his colleagues showed that heart disease, our leading killer, may be reversed with the lowest-tech approach—diet and lifestyle.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Popular Videos for Heart Disease
All Videos for Heart Disease
The Best Diet for COVID and Long-COVID
Healthy plant-based diets appear to help reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 and getting infected in the first place, even independent of comorbidities.
Book Trailer for How Not to Age
Preorder my new book How Not to Age, out this December!
How to Prove Whether Yoga Has Special Health Benefits
Yoga practitioners are healthier, but does practicing yoga lead to good health, or does good health lead to practicing yoga?
Why Vegans Should Eat More Plant-Based
One cannot assume that simply avoiding animal foods will necessarily produce a healthy diet.
Dietary Cholesterol and Inflammation from Abdominal Obesity
The optimal intake of dietary cholesterol may be zero.
Vitamin D Supplements Tested for COPD, Heart Disease, Depression, Obesity, and Cancer Survival
Before watching the video, can you guess which conditions vitamin D has actually been proven to work for in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials?
The Negative Effects and Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
What are the pros and cons of plant-based eating?
Strategies to Eat Less Meat
What is the most effective way to help people reduce their meat consumption?
Dietary Guidelines: “Eat as Little Dietary Cholesterol as Possible”
Why do the official federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting the intake of dietary cholesterol (found mostly in eggs) as much as possible?
Update on Erythritol Sweetener Safety: Are There Side Effects?
Why are erythritol levels in the blood associated with higher levels of chronic disease?
How Much Erythritol Sweetener Is Too Much?
What are the maximum acute and daily doses for adults and children to avoid gastrointestinal effects?
Does Coffee Inhibit Iron Absorption? What Are the Effects of Having Too Much Iron?
Coffee and common herbal teas impair iron absorption, which may help explain some of their benefits.
The Role of Endotoxins in Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Why can a single meal high in saturated fat impair cognition?
The Best Diet for Fibromyalgia and Other Chronic Pain Relief
Anti-inflammatory diets can be effective in alleviating chronic pain syndromes.
How Tongue Scraping Can Affect Heart Health
Tongue scraping can boost the ability of the good bacteria in our mouth to take advantage of the nitrates in greens to improve our cardiovascular health.
The Best Diet for Cancer Patients
What diet should oncologists recommend?
The Harms Associated with Eating More Southern-Style Food
Diet appears to mediate the majority of the racial health gap.
Answering Your Questions About Cholesterol and Diabetes
I answer some common questions I’ve been asked about cholesterol and diabetes, such as “What is the ideal LDL?” “What’s going on when someone eats healthfully but their glucose is still out of control?”
Does Dietary Cholesterol (Eggs) Raise Blood Cholesterol?
Even nine out of ten studies funded by the egg industry show that eggs raise cholesterol.
Cholesterol and Heart Disease: Why Has There Been So Much Controversy?
Is the role of cholesterol in heart disease settled beyond a reasonable doubt?
The Purported Benefits of Vitamin K2: Should You Take Supplements?
Our body can make vitamin K2 from the K1 in green leafy vegetables.
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) and Cognitive Decline
AGEs may be one explanation for why those who consume meat may have up to three times the risk of developing dementia compared with vegetarians.
How to Cultivate a Healthy Gut Microbiome with Food
Our gut flora is determined by what we eat, for good or for ill.
Why Don’t Health Insurers Encourage Healthier Eating?
Why don’t more big payors in health care embrace plant-based eating?
How Much Does Meat Affect Longevity?
If you care about your health so much that it would be unthinkable to light up a cigarette before and after lunch, maybe you should order a bean burrito instead of a meaty one.
How Big Meat Manipulated the Science
Big Meat downplays the magnitude of meat mortality.
The Health Risks vs. Benefits of Meat Consumption
The meat industry’s own study concluded that meat consumption increased the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and premature death.
Observational Studies Show Similar Results to Randomized Controlled Trials
How legitimate is the common corporate criticism of the scientific nutrition literature that the credibility of observational studies is questionable?
How Big Sugar Undermines Dietary Guidelines
International Life Sciences Organization, a nonprofit, is accused of being a front group for Coca-Cola and other junk food giants.
Are the Health Benefits of Nuts Limited to Those Eating Bad Diets?
Do nut eaters live longer simply because they swap in protein from plants in place of animal protein?
Animal Protein vs. Plant-Based Protein
I discuss a public health case for modernizing the definition of protein quality.
Are Potassium Chloride Salt Substitutes Effective?
Is potassium chloride win-win by decreasing sodium intake and increasing potassium intake?
Fewer Than 1 in 5,000 Meet Sodium and Potassium Recommended Intakes
A staggering 99.99 percent of Americans fail to get the minimum recommended potassium intake (despite it being perhaps only half of our natural intake) and stay below the recommended sodium intake (even though it may be twice our natural intake).
Natural Dietary Remedy for Insomnia
Lactucin, the hypnotic component of lettuce, is put to the test in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of lettuce seeds.
Foods to Help Protect Your Arteries from Saturated Fat
If you’re going to have something unhealthy, is there anything you can eat with it to help mediate the damage it may cause?
Exercising to Protect Your Arteries from Fast Food
There is a window of time in which sufficient physical activity can help mediate some of the damage caused by eating an unhealthy meal.
Saturated Fat Causes Artery and Lung Inflammation
What happens within hours of eating a high-fat meal?
Ultra-Processed Junk Food Put to the Test
What happened when ultra-processed foods were matched for calories, sugar, fat, and ﬁber content in the first randomized controlled trial?
How We Won the Fight to Ban Trans Fat
What was the secret to the public health community’s triumph when past attempts to regulate the food industry failed?
Do the Health Benefits of Peanut Butter Include Longevity?
Why are nuts associated with decreased mortality, but not peanut butter?