How many people do you know who have some sort of heart disease?
Perhaps someone in your family or a close friend has been stricken.
As a nutrition counselor I often hear about my client’s family history, e.g., “My dad had heart trouble or my aunt has high cholesterol.”
Genetics are often cited as the source of chronic disease — however, this is rarely the case.
What’s really happening is generations within families are practicing the same unhealthy lifestyles. A more likely scenario is one which includes the consumption of high-fat foods and animal products.
Cardiovascular Disease Facts
Cardiovascular disease, which includes hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and high cholesterol, is caused by a diet high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Animal products, as well as oils and tropical fats (coconut and palm) are high in saturated fat.
Foods of animal origin also contain high levels of cholesterol, whereas plant-based foods contain none.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, even surpassing cancer.
According to Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., former Cleveland Clinic heart surgeon and author of “Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease,” heart disease is largely diet induced. Dr. Esselstyn conducted a twenty year study proving the incidence of heart disease can be lowered dramatically or even eliminated with the proper dietary changes.
How to Reverse Heart Disease
In order to reverse heart disease the proper dietary changes must be made, and this means eliminating all animal products.
This includes red meat, chicken, fish, dairy products and eggs.
It is a common misconception that chicken and fish are acceptable choices in a heart healthy diet. In some cases these foods supply just as much, if not more, fat and cholesterol than red meat. Even when the chicken and fish in question are lower in fat and cholesterol they are simply the lesser of three evils.
Reversing your heart disease also means eliminating all oils and added fats.
Preventing heart disease requires the same lifestyle, however, avocados and walnuts are allowed in moderation if you have no signs or symptoms of the disease.
So what can you eat?
A heart-healthy diet is comprised of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas and lentils). This way of eating will clear out your arteries, lower your cholesterol and lengthen your life.
Stick with this eating regimen and you will see your numbers go down — along with your weight.
Dr. Esselstyn’s book is full of delicious recipes which will help keep you motivated and break the cycle of your “family history.”