Can a vegan diet reverse heart disease?

Based on a study following 198 patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD), a low-fat, wholesome vegan diet can literally save your life. Of the 198 patients with CVD, 177 adhered to the diet principles (followed on average for 3.7 years) which were for wholegrains, pulses (lentils, beans, soya, peas, chickpeas), vegetables and fruit to form the major portion of the diet. Participants were also encouraged to take a multivitamin and vitamin B12 supplement and advised to use of flax seed meal as an additional source of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Apart from animal foods, patients were also told to avoid added oils and processed foods that contain oils, avocado, nuts, sugary foods and drinks, and excess salt. In the group of adherent patients, 112 reported angina at the beginning and 104 of them experienced improvement or resolution of symptoms during the follow-up period. Among adherent patients with severely affected (blocked) coronary arteries, results showed disease reversal in 39 cases and 27 participants were able to avoid surgery that was previously recommended. Only one cardiac event related to the progression of CVD occurred in the group of adherent patients – a non-fatal stroke. On the other hand, 13 of the 21 (62 per cent) non-adherent participants experienced adverse events. These included two sudden cardiac deaths, one heart transplant, two strokes, four surgeries with stent placement, three coronary artery bypass surgeries and one carotid artery surgery. 

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Esselstyn CB Jr et al., 2014. A way to reverse CAD? The Journal of Family Practice. 63 (7)  356-364b.