I am currently reading a book by Caldwell Esselstyn M.D. called ” Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”. That’s quite a title and quite a claim. Expensive heart surgery will only give you more time but it will do nothing to reverse heart disease. The answer is not in some new wonder drug but simply in the food you eat. You may have heard such claims before but Dr Esselstyn has the study and the proof to prove his food theories work. As a very successful surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr Esselstyn grew weary of simply disfiguring people’s bodies to treat the symptoms and wanted to get at the cause of heart disease. After doing his own research, he decided that diet was the most likely cause of heat problems and went about designing a study that would last over 20 years.
The 20 or so patients for the study were referred to him by cardiologists who sent him patients who were basically waiting to die. Nothing more could be done for them after all had suffered numerous heart events. If you read the book you will marvel that these folks were actually still alive after all they had been through. All were interviewed and all had to accept the program whole heartedly without exceptions. Dr Esselstyn admits he was a tough cookie and demanded total commitment to the program. Patients were continuously monitored by blood tests, heart screenings and interviews.
The diet consisted of whole foods, whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits. The rules included no meat or fish, no dairy, no eggs, no oils (not even olive oil), no nuts or seeds, no fruit juices, no avocados, no coconut and eat soy products cautiously. He also suggests reading The China Study. This may seem harsh and lifestyle invasive but Esselstyn believes that sawing open your breast bone and slicing up your arteries is more invasive. Besides the diet change is a lot cheaper and much more effective and lasting.
The 20 or so patients who entered the study group had about 50 heart incidents before the study. After 10 years into the study none of the patients had experienced any heart issues. All had managed to keep their cholesterol levels down below 150 mg/dl while on the diet. Esselstyn states that the current acceptable dietary guidelines published by the American Heart Association allow for 200 mg/dL which is in his opinion is too high and actually promotes heart disease. So you people out there who are trying to do the right thing apparently are being duped by the very organization that is supposed to help you. If you have a heart issue I totally recommend you read this book and read the China Study too. While you are at it, watch the movie Forks Over Knives.