Holistic Heart Disease Prevention
Plant Based Diet
We need to eat in order to live, so food is very important. The food we eat makes up the building materials for growth and repair of our bodies. It also supplies the energy that our bodies need to function properly.
The best way to get the nutrients that your body needs are from natural foods. Foods that are close to their natural state (the way nature prepared them) are nutritionally balanced.
Some people think that the way nature prepares food is not good enough. They believe that food needs to be “improved.” So, they go about trying to make food “better” by genetically modifying, processing, and refining it.
Processing the food depletes the nutrients that are naturally present in whole food. Instead of the natural nutrients, you get lots of extra calories and harmful chemical additives. When food is refined, it is stripped of most of its beneficial fiber and essential nutrients.
The manufacturers may add in a few vitamins here and there, but the end result is not nearly as healthy as the original product. The life-giving properties in the food are destroyed. That is not good for your body or your health. If your body does not get the proper whole food nutrition it needs, it simply cannot be healthy. There is definitely a connection between the quality of food that you eat and the quality of life that you will live. What you put into your body is what you will get out in your level of health and vitality.
Do you want to achieve and keep optimum health?
If your answer is yes, then good whole food nutrition is absolutely essential. If you want to be healthy, then you need to have the right food in the right amounts that your body requires. As you move towards a more natural way of eating, your physical health will improve.
The plant-based diet is high in fiber and it is full of nutrients. It is low in fat and protein. Current research shows that a diet that is too high in protein can actually be bad for your health.
Here are some other great things about a plant-based diet: It leads to optimum health and energy. And, it’s not linked to any major disease. In fact, it can help to lower your risk factors for some of the major diseases plaguing the people in more affluent nations.
Women on a plant-based diet tend to have stronger bones and fewer fractures. They lose less bone as they age. According to an editorial in the Journal of American Medical Association, a plant-based diet can prevent up to 90 percent of strokes and approximately 97 percent of heart attacks. Those are some pretty amazing findings.
Plant-Based Diet for Heart Disease Instructions
A plant-based diet means that the majority of the food you eat comes from a plant, not animal sources. You do not have to be a vegan or vegetarian to follow a plant-based, you just need to fill most of your plate with vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Switching to a plant-based diet has been proven by doctors, including John McDougall, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD and Joel Fuhrman, MD, to help prevent and treat heart disease without the use of medication.
Eliminate or drastically reduce your consumption of animal products. Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs all contain saturated fat and cholesterol, which clogs your arteries, raises cholesterol and leads to heart disease. If you want to keep animal products in your diet, think of them as a side dish as opposed to the main course and try to only consume one animal food per day.
Eat as many leafy green vegetables as possible. This includes but is not limited to kale, collard greens, spinach, and romaine lettuce. Leafy greens should be the foundation of a strong plant-based diet and will provide your body with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They contain extremely low amounts of fat, so they will not clog your arteries or contribute to heart disease.
Aim to eat a minimum of 25 g of fiber each day by consuming ample amounts of high-fiber foods like beans and whole grains. Fiber, specifically soluble fiber, lowers your bad cholesterol, or LDL, and reduces your risk for heart disease. Beans are particularly high in fiber, with one 1/2-cup serving of black beans providing 6 g of fiber.
Don’t be afraid to eat nuts, seeds, and avocados. Although these foods do contain fat, it is heart-healthy plant-based monounsaturated fat, which can actually lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. Moderation is key with these foods, though. A 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds or 1/4 of an avocado three to four times each week will give you all the monounsaturated fat your body needs.
Tips and Warnings
If you love dairy products and refuse to give them up, try switching to nonfat versions. This will help reduce your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.
- “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”; Caldwell Esselstyn, MD; 2007
- “The McDougall Program”; John A. McDougall, MD; 1990
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber Start Roughing It!
- LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate: Black Beans
- “Eat to Live”; Joel Fuhrman, MD; 2011
- “The China Study”; T. Colin Campbell, PhD
- “Forks over Knifes-The Plant-based way to Health”; Gene Stone