With Valentine’s Day falling smack dab in the middle of the month, it seems fitting that February is “American Heart Month.”
Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is currently – and has been since about the 1930s — the leading cause of death for men and women in the US?
Alarmingly, recent reports estimate that one in every three deaths in the US is due to heart-related illnesses.
There’s good news though: clinical studies clearly demonstrate that in many cases, heart disease can be prevented and even reversed simply by choosing plant-based foods.
In fact, a few years ago former President Bill Clinton, who has a family history of heart disease and had had two invasive heart surgeries since 2004, chose to drastically revamp his diet in an effort to heal himself. In discussing his transformation to a heart-healthy (mostly) vegan diet in which he lost weight and gained energy, Clinton says: “I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.”
The power of choosing plant-based foods is so significant that in 2011 CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta dedicated an hour-long show to this important topic, “The Last Heart Attack.” Referring to a “food-based prescription” that could save lives, he sums it up by suggesting we should eat “nothing with a mother, nothing with a face,” and he concludes that “with what we know right now, we could see the last heart attack in America.”
Looking for a second opinion? Ask Dr. Kim A Williams, the new president of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Williams doesn’t just rely on the medical literature noting the benefits of eating more plants and less meat, he tells his own story about how changing his diet dramatically lowered his cholesterol. He’s been vegan for over 12 years now, and he discusses important topic this with his patients: “I recommend a plant-based diet because I know it’s going to lower their blood pressure, improve their insulin sensitivity, and decrease their cholesterol.”