Happy Herbivore Blog

Fighting Heart Disease with a Plant-Based Diet -- Heart Health Month

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Advice

February is American Heart Health month. As you know, my Father had a heart attack two years ago and his health has been our primary focus ever since.

According to the CDC, 715,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. Heart disease is also the leading cause of death for both men and women --- 1 out of every 4 deaths is from heart disease.

And here's what's really heartbreaking: it's all entirely preventible.

I can't recommend Dr Essy's book, Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease enough.

Dr. Essy recommends a very low fat, no oil, plant-based diet for prevention and treatment.

BTW my lower fat meal plans follow Dr. Essy's recommendations.

Dr. Essy also has a generous Q&A on his website, plus this interview with HuffPo.

Individuals who have heart disease need to also be mindful of their salt intake. Since his heart attack, my Dad has become fanatical about reading labels, and he often sends me surprising salt discoveries.

For example, he wrote me: "Yesterday I was just glancing at the nutritional values of a generic can of chickpeas and one by Bush's. Was really surprised that the generic one had 280mg of sodium (12%) and the Bush's one had 470mg (20%) of sodium. And the generic one isn't even listed as low sodium. Wow! What a difference. Just goes to show you that people with heart conditions need to scan labels of even the "good/healthy" foods."

Always opt to buy the no salt added/low sodium versions whenever possible, particularly with canned tomatoes, beans and vegetable broth.

You can also make your own broth from scraps.

Since I bought my Dad this pressure cooker last year, he now makes beans from scratch.

For more info on how to reduce your salt intake, see these posts:

How to Reduce Salt (video)

Sodium: How Much is Too Much? (+ How to Tame Your Salt Habit)

Finally, watch (or rewatch) Forks Over Knives and CNN's The Last Heart Attack with President Bill Clinton.

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