Heart Disease: Prevention and Reversal with Plant Based Diet

Think about it logically: The leading cause of death is heart disease and "Plant-based diets are the only dietary pattern to have shown reversal of CHD." Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Cardiovascular Disease Considering that vegans only make up 3% of the population, there sure is a lot of cardiologist (who treat the leading cause of death) that are vegan.
  • Dr. Kim A Williams, cardiologist and was president of the American College of Cardiology has been vegan since 2003 and it IMPROVED his blood work. I think he's about 67.
  • Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn is another famous cardiologist and scientist who has been vegan since 1984. He's 87 years old. Making Heart Attacks History He and his awesome vegan family actually have an event in Black Mountain, NC every year, precovid at least, called Plant Stock. This is a very awesome immersion camp to hear from various speakers on the topic of nutritional science and also some amazing stories.
  • Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, was a Cardiologist and vegan about 50 years. He died at 104. The secret to living longer
  • Dr. Dean Ornish, a 68 year old cardiologist and researcher, he's been vegan for at least 37 years. I shot this video of Ornish: https://youtu.be/jP1nw71E9g0 and this video: Dr Dean Ornish
  • Dr. Joel Kahn, another cardiologist, has been vegan 42 years. He's at least 62. I shot this video of him: The Future of Cardiology
  • Dr. Baxter Montgomery, cardiologist, like the others, treats people with plant based diets and is vegan: Focus on Heart Failure
More vegan Cardiologist:
Pretty much everything suggests eating fruits, veggies, and other fiber rich foods (only plants have fiber) to prevent it. They all also say limit eating things that ARE IN ANIMALS like trans fats, saturated fats, etc... and they also say limit eating meat. They could just say go 100 percent vegan but 97% of the population doesn't want to hear bad news about their behaviors. So, it makes sense to listen to the experts. 

Heart Disease is the Leading Cause of Death

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. (s) While smoking, obesity, lifestyle, and genetics may contribute the leading factor is atherosclerosis. Beginning in childhood the presence of heart disease is present in “100 percent of children by age 10”. (s)

As of 2005 Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States for the past 80 years and is a major cause of disability. (s) High cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, a cause of heart attacks. (s) Now, over 90 years now, in January of 2018 heart disease is still the leading cause of death in America and worldwide.

“Only one way of eating has ever been proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients: a diet centered around whole plant foods. If that’s all a whole-food, plant-based diet could do, reverse our number-one killer, shouldn’t that be the default diet until proven otherwise? The fact it may also be effective in preventing, treating, and arresting other leading killers seems to make the case for plant-based eating simply overwhelming.” (s)

“By age 10, nearly all kids have fatty streaks in their arteries. This is the first sign of atherosclerosis, the leading cause of death in the United States. So the question for most of us is not whether we should eat healthy to prevent heart disease, but whether we want to reverse the heart disease we may already have.” (s)

What Causes Heart Disease?

Genetics

“The genetic defect producing atherosclerosis occurs in no more than 1 in 200 and possibly as low as 1 in 400 or 500 persons. This means, of course, that most persons  with atherosclerosis acquire it by the types of calories they consume.” (s)

Dietary Cholesterol

Your body uses cholesterol for various functions and it is a part of every cell of your body. But your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. When we eat another animal we are consuming their cholesterol, this is “dietary cholesterol”. When dietary cholesterol builds up in the arteries this is called atherosclerosis. (s)

Plaques narrow our arteries, vasoconstricting blood flow throughout our body. This has been shown to effect the brain (s), spine (s) (s), and even erectile dysfunction (s) can be an early sign of heart disease. (s) Plaques can can even crystallize, sharpen, and then burst under the diastolic/systolic pressure and puncture the endothelial wall resulting in death. (s)

Silent Symptoms

Having high cholesterol levels, while a risk factor for other conditions, does not itself present any signs or symptoms. Unless routinely screened through regular blood testing, high cholesterol levels will go unnoticed and could present a silent threat of heart attack or stroke. (s)

Other Sources of Heart Disease

Heme-iron, iron from eating animals, is a pro-oxidant “contributing to the development of atherosclerosis” because it “oxidizes cholesterol with free radicals”. “The risk has been quantified as a 27% increase in CVD for every 1 milligram of heme iron consumed dialy.” (s) Saturated fat also contributes to the development of atherosclerosis. (s)

“Choline and carnitine-rich foods ”meat, eggs, and dairy”can be converted by gut flora into trimethylamine, which can then be turned into TMAO in our liver; a toxic compound which may increase our risk of heart failure, kidney failure, and atherosclerosis (heart attacks and strokes)” (s)

In short, various aspects of consuming animals (for example saturated fat, heme-iron, TMAO) contribute to heart disease.

Lowering Cholesterol & Improve Arterial Function

Since all plants have fiber, and all animals saturated fat and cholesterol, in general, whole plant foods tend to lower our risk of dying from our number one killer, and all whole animal foods tend to raise our risk. Processed plant foods – hydrogenated vegetable oil, for example, (s)

One small, but interesting study showed 4 Brazil Nuts lowered cholesterol for 30 days. Four nuts appeared to be the better than more than 4 nuts. Brazil nuts are also high in selenium so it’s important not to exceed the daily intake. (s) Walnuts appear to lower cholesterol and improve arterial function. (s) Sprinkling vinegar on greens may augment their ability to improve endothelial function. (s) Even cocoa is a whole-food, plant based way to improve arterial function! (s)

Diverse mushrooms, including common and specialty mushrooms, can protect against cardiovascular disease by interfering with events that contribute to atherogenesis. (s)

A report from Harvard Health has identified cholesterol lowering foods that actively decrease cholesterol levels: (s)

  • Oats are an easy first step to improving your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber. (The average American gets about half that amount.)
  • Barley and other whole grains like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
  • Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take awhile for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices” from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond” and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
  • Nuts a bushel of studies shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.
  • Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.
  • Soy eating soybeans and foods made from them, like tofu and soy milk, was once touted as a powerful way to lower cholesterol. Analyses show that the effect is more modest” consuming 25 grams of soy protein a day (10 ounces of tofu or 2 1/2 cups of soy milk) can lower LDL by 5% to 6%.
  • Fiber rich foods “can flush excess cholesterol out of the system” and “may also reduce the risk of strokehigh cholesterol and potentially heart disease.” (s)
  • Eggplant and okra

They also mention fish a couple times a week because of their omega 3’s. However, there are many issues with fish being polluted and even consumers not getting the fish they think they’re getting! Scientists have estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish. (s) There a lot more issues than this with fish as well (see playlist for more details).

An absolutely better source of omega 3 is milled flax and/or walnuts to name a couple. Flax is easy to add to your Oats and many other recipes, like smoothies. Flax also has lignans which help against cancer as well as other powerful attributes. (s) (s) (s)

Eating flax and nuts with other antioxidant rich foods, like blueberries in your oat meal or a smoothie or even a salad increases  absorption 10 fold of those antioxidants and at least hundreds of phytonutrients! And, mix in some water with the flax and you’ve got a great, healthy, safe egg alternative! (see who says eggs aren’t healthy or safe?) (egg alternative).

More Information on Heart Disease

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