Feb 112013

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 We are celebrating “heart” month during February so let’s talk about some interesting information about how we can work on making our hearts healthier.

We all are aware that heart disease is the nation’s #1 killer. But is it irreversible? Is it possible that changes in lifestyle alone such as reducing stress as well as fat, can effectively reverse heart disease?

An interesting study, one the largest ever conducted in the UK, almost 45,000 volunteers which included 34% vegetarians, compared rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and suggested that a vegetarian diet could significantly reduce people’s risk of heart disease. These new findings were just recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32% lower in vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish, according to this new study from the University of Oxford.

‘Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease,’ explains Dr Francesca Crowe, lead author of the study at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford.

Another risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. Dr. Dean Ornish, in his book Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program For Reversing Heart Disease states, epidemiological research studies conducted to date tell us that people who eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol vegetarian diet (in other countries or in subgroups in the United States) have low blood pressure and low blood cholesterol levels in childhood that remain low as they get older, and they have very low rates of coronary heart disease. People who eat a typical American diet have low blood pressure and low blood cholesterol levels in childhood that tend to increase as they get older, and they have high rates of coronary heart disease.

Ornish further states that two-thirds of the world eat a low-fat vegetarian or near-vegetarian diet. Many anthropologists believe that our ancestors were primarily vegetarians. Our teeth are designed primarily for plant-based foods, and our intestional tract is long to allow for the slow digestion of high-fiber plant foods, rather than the short digestive tract needed to process meat and dispose of the resulting toxic wastes quickly. Did you know that as early as 1900 two thirds of the protein in the typical American diet came from plant foods, whereas today two thirds of our protein comes from animal foods?

The video below is an interesting comment about this subject. Enjoy!

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