Whole-food plant-based diet reverses chest pain in heart disease, study finds

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Angina is a common symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD), often described as chest pain or discomfort. Its traditional treatment includes lifestyle changes, medication, angioplasty, or even surgery.

However, a recent study published in the journal Case Reports in Cardiology presents a groundbreaking alternative: reversing angina through a whole-food plant-based diet.

Led by Daniele Massera from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the study centered on a 60-year-old man who declined both drug therapy and invasive testing for his angina.

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

Rapid Symptom Relief

Within a few weeks of switching to a plant-based diet, the man experienced a significant improvement in his angina symptoms.

Long-Term Benefits

Over four months, he experienced:

  • A drop in BMI from 26 kg/m^2 to 22 kg/m^2
  • Blood pressure normalization
  • A decrease in LDL cholesterol from 158 mg/dL to 69 mg/dL

Initially unable to exercise due to his condition, he was able to walk one mile without experiencing angina. Two years later, he could jog more than four miles without any issue.

Drug-Free and Procedure-Free

Remarkably, the man remains asymptomatic without the need for drug therapy or invasive procedures like cardiac catheterization.

Broad Health Improvements

The team pointed out that plant-based diets have previously been linked to improved plasma lipids, better diabetes control, and a reduction in mortality.

Importance of Lifestyle Modification

The current cholesterol guidelines emphasize lifestyle modifications as crucial for cardiovascular health. This study provides potent evidence that lifestyle changes can not only improve health but also reverse severe symptoms.


The study is a powerful testament to the potential of dietary changes for combating coronary artery disease. Although it’s a single case, the findings offer a new avenue for treating angina and possibly other cardiovascular diseases.

As always, consultation with healthcare providers is crucial before making significant lifestyle changes.

This case, however, adds a new dimension to the “food as medicine” dialogue and emphasizes the importance of lifestyle changes in medical guidelines.

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