Eating Ourselves to Death
In the United States, we all to commonly focus on the symptoms and the treatment of disease rather than the underlying cause. Over the last few decades, we have seen the rate of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease skyrocket. Enlightened physicians and researchers have begun to question what is the cause of this rapid increase and what can be done to slow, and possibly stop, heart disease.
What they repeatedly found is that diet can significantly impact the incidence and prevalence of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S, including heart disease. The typical Western diet is based on animal protein and is high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium. This leads to significant vascular inflammation and the development of plaque (blockages), the building blocks for heart disease. Additionally, the inflamed lining of these vessels also makes "vulnerable" plaques at higher risk of rupture.
A Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet
In the book, 'Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease', Dr. Esselstyn describes his study spanning more than 15 years which provided solid evidence that a plant-based diet can stabilize and even reverse coronary artery disease. I have personally seen the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet and provide resources to any patient ready to take this step towards a healthier lifestyle.
There are significant benefits to switching to a whole food plant-based diet. Many studies show that replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood cholesterol levels - since cholesterol only originates in animal products. The type of protein in a plant-based diet is an important advantage in maintaining a healthy heart. Many studies show that replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood cholesterol levels.
• More fiber for better cholesterol: A plant-based diet is high in fiber from fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. A high-fiber diet is good for cholesterol.
• Fewer calories for better weight control: Eliminating fats that are found in animal products reduces calories; plus, many replacement foods are high in fiber to fill you up faster so you eat less.
• More fruits and vegetables mean more heart-healthy nutrients: Leafy greens and fruits are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which help protect against heart disease