Did you know that heart and blood vessel disease is the number one killer of adult men and women in the United States? And approximately two out of every three adolescents have early signs of cholesterol disease in their blood vessels? What’s especially troubling about these statistics is that a lot of our heart problems are caused by our diet and lifestyle. So we are literally killing ourselves from diet-driven disease!
But just like we can cause illness with food, we can prevent and reverse disease through diet too.
During my many years of medical training, I was fortunate to study with many outstanding physicians and scientists. However, I initially learned very little about the relationship between diet and health. When I first started treating patients, I recommended what I thought was a “healthier” lifestyle (which typically included a Mediterranean-style diet). But this didn’t work. For years, I watched as my patients’ diseases only got worse. I became frustrated, and I knew that there had to be something different, something better.
After doing a lot of research about the relationship between food and health, I learned about the health benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet. Eventually, I became convinced that simple key changes to diet and lifestyle can be dramatically effective in treating and, in some cases, even healing heart disease. I started the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, where we use a nutrition-focused approach to treating cardiovascular disease. Despite some initial skepticism, both patients and doctors have been shocked at the amazing improvements in our patients’ health. Patients have been able to eliminate or reduce medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and chronic pain.
Some of my patients also describe unexpected benefits, including more energy, improved complexion, clearer thinking, better sleep, stronger immunity, improved erectile function, increased stamina, and more!
Outside of a lifesaving procedure, I have never seen anything come close to providing the breadth and depth of benefits that come from simply adopting a plant-based diet.
So, what is this special, healing diet? It’s not a secret. It is what many people call a healthy vegan diet: we call it eating a whole food plant-based diet, which includes:
- no animal products
- vegetables and fruits
- whole grains
- beans and legumes
- small amounts of raw nuts and avocado
In our program, we also teach recipes and methods for making plant-based food delicious and satisfying. This is meant to be a lifestyle change, so no one is going to stick with it unless the food tastes good!
It is, of course, important to emphasize that medications and procedures can be very helpful. As physicians, we clearly want to take an “all of the above” approach when it comes to helping people.
Through my experiences treating patients with heart disease, I have learned that it is never too early nor too late to work at improving your health. And best of all, we can all take charge of our bodies and our health through what we eat. Try eating a plant-based diet for a few months, and you too may be surprised by all the benefits.
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Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.