Two things are necessary to predictably reverse heart disease: one is to become thin and superbly nourished, and the other is to get your LDL below 100. Reversal of heart disease then occurs.
In studies, patients eating certain kinds of diets have demonstrated modest reduction in plaque (more on that below). Nutrient Rich Advisor, Dr. Fuhrman has found that with a Nutrient Rich Diet, greater reductions in plaque are common.
"My patients demonstrate much more dramatic cholesterol lowering since the advised dietary program is based on nutrient density," he explains, "and reversals from 20 to 40 percent per year are typical in my experience. I even have a patient who reversed his carotid blockage from 80 percent to undetectable in one year on carotid ultrasound." – Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Dr. Fuhrman’s book Cholesterol Protection for Life covers a lot of this in depth. An updated and expanded version of that book will be out soon, and here is an excerpt:
Studies preformed by Dean Ornish and other investigators have documented the effects of a low-fat vegetarian (vegan) diet on patients with heart disease and found reversal of the condition occurred in the majority of patients. The reversal was modest, but nevertheless, no study previously showed diet could be so effective at preventing and reversing heart disease.
Note: you do not need to be vegan or vegetarian to get the cholesterol lowering and over all health superior health benefits of a plant "based" diet.
Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. of the Cleveland Clinic put together a program utilizing a vegetarian plant-based diet with the addition of cholesterol-lowering medication in 18 patients who had severe angiographically demonstrated coronary artery disease. All of these high-risk patients with advanced heart disease were noted to have no coronary events during the following 12 years, and on repeat angiogram, 70% were found to have regression of their disease and none had progression.1 When you consider these 18 patients had experienced 50 coronary events during the 8 years before this study, you have to agree on the effectiveness of combining plant-based nutrition with cholesterol lowering.
Dr. Esselstyn tracked these patients for 17 years, which is the longest ongoing research project of this kind, and not one of these people, who years ago had severe heart disease, has had any further cardiac complaints or heart attacks.
Dr. Esselstyn also tracked the long-term results in six of his patients that did not want to adhere to the diet and returned to the standard care of their cardiologists. They experienced 13 new cardiac events during the first 12 years.
Although Ornish and Esseltyn studied vegetarian diets, Dr. Fuhrman has found that when reversing heart disease is the goal, eliminating meat is hardly the only important step. The diet Dr. Fuhrman recommends in Cholesterol Protection for Life is more specific, and more aggressively heart-healthy. (In addition, Dr. Fuhrman’s book advocates natural supplements–including delta tocotrienol, plant sterols, policosanol, and pomegranate extracts that can be helpful. On DrFuhrman.com you can read all about the supplements he recommends, complete with 16 references to articles in respected journals.)
Eating Nutrient Rich makes a measurable difference. From an article on DrFuhrman.com:
Next article in this series: The Worlds Safest and Most Effective Way to Lower Your Cholesterol