In the video I featured last week on Care2, Resuscitating Medicare, I celebrated the news that Medicare was finally reimbursing plant-based diet programs for heart disease reversal, and shared a personal story of how my grandmother’s miraculous recovery from terminal heart disease inspired my own career in lifestyle medicine. It wasn’t until 1990, though, that Dr. Dean Ornish published his landmark study proving you could not just slow heart disease—our number one killer, not just stop heart disease in its tracks, but actually reverse heart disease, open up clogged arteries with a plant-based diet and other lifestyle interventions. Since then, millions upon millions of Americans have died totally unnecessary deaths. If my grandma didn’t have to die like that, no one’s grandma has to die like that. We have the miracle cure, yet hardly anyone knows about it.
Wait a second, though. If we can reverse heart disease without drugs, without surgery, then great! Doesn’t that mean we can eat whatever the heck we want and then, as soon as we start feeling some chest pain, we can get with the program, eat as healthy as we need to and open our arteries back up? Here’s the problem with that plan: sudden cardiac death. Our first symptom may be our last, the subject of today’s NutritionFacts.org video pick featured above.
Having conquered our number one killer, Dr. Ornish moved on to try reversing killer number two, cancer (see my 4-minute video Cancer Reversal Through Diet?). Then he tried his hand at reversing aging, publishing the first study to show dietary changes can boost telomerase enzyme activity, featured in Research Into Reversing Aging. Putting it all together, Ornish published the editorial in the American Journal of Cardiology that I profile in my 3-minute video Convergence of Evidence, describing how living and eating healthy can actually change us on a genetic level, up-regulating disease-preventing genes and down-regulating genes that promote breast cancer, prostate cancer, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Drugs can’t do that, but diet can.
Michael Greger, M.D.
Image credit: James Heilman, MD / Wikimedia Commons