A whole-food plant-based diet could reverse heart failure, study finds

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Scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that a whole-food plant-based diet reversed heart failure without medications or surgeries.

Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. It may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest.

The discomfort also can occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, abdomen, or back. Angina pain may even feel like indigestion.

Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease. Depending on the severity, it can be treated by lifestyle changes, medication, angioplasty, or surgery.

Angina is usually caused by the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscles become narrowed by a build-up of fatty substances. This is called atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on your artery walls. This build-up is called plaque. The plaque can cause your arteries to narrow, blocking blood flow.

In the study, researchers reported a case. A 60-year-old man had typical angina symptoms and had a positive stress test. He declined both drug therapy and invasive testing.

Instead, he chose to adopt a whole-food plant-based diet, which mainly included vegetables, fruits, whole grains, potatoes, beans, legumes, and nuts.

Doctors found that his symptoms improved rapidly, as well as his weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

The researchers suggest that a whole-food plant-based diet emphasizes fresh, whole ingredients and minimizes processed foods.

It focuses on minimally processed foods, specifically plants. It limits or avoids animal products. It also excludes refined foods, like added sugars, white flour, and processed oils.

The team says a plant-based diet has been linked to improved blood fats, diabetes control, lower heart disease risk, and a reduction in death risk.

Adoption of this form of lifestyle therapy should be the first recommendation for patients with atherosclerosis.

People who want to eat a whole-food plant-based diet need to pay special attention to food quality. Many components of the diet can be locally sourced, organic food.

The research is published in Case Reports in Cardiology and was conducted by Daniele Massera et al.

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