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Registered Health Charity No. 1037486

Have a Heart

Every few minutes someone in the UK dies of heart disease or stroke (CVD). It’s very much a Western disease related to our lifestyle.

Official advice includes switching to a lower fat diet – ditching fatty meats, biscuits and full-fat dairy products. Opt instead, we’re told, for lean meat, reduced-fat dairy and oily fish.

But people who take this advice are likely to be disappointed. It’s largely ineffective with about a five per cent reduction in cholesterol levels at best. And heart patients who just tinker with their diets in this way generally get worse over time.

Veggie Diets – Protecting your Heart

You could have far more success if you ditch meat and dairy from your diet. Strong scientific evidence shows that veggie diets can be used to prevent and treat high blood pressure, lower cholesterol and even reverse heart disease.

With all heart-related diseases, veggies suffer less than meat eaters – and the more meat you eat, the more likely you are to end up with clogged arteries. Research shows that an animal-free diet can heal damage to the arteries. A low-fat, vegetarian diet eaten for just a year can reverse blockages, resulting in improved blood flow.

Vegetarians are less at risk of heart disease and have up to 50 per cent less chance of dying from it. If everyone in the UK went vegetarian, about 40,000 lives a year would be saved – perhaps a veggie diet should be available on prescription!

Here are the experiences of two groups of heart patients treated with a low-fat veggie diet:

Chest pain had begun to disappear within weeks, cholesterol levels dropped dramatically and at the end of the year, 82 per cent saw deposits (plaques) in their coronary arteries start to dissolve without medication, surgery or side effects! The only ‘side effects’ were good ones – the average patient lost around one-and-a-half stones in the first year!
Results of Dr Dean Ornish

A group of severely ill heart patients had completely run out of options – some had been given less than a year to live. Just about everything had been tried – repeated open heart surgery, angioplasties, stents and a plethora of medications. Almost all the men were impotent, most had angina and, for some, things were so bad that they couldn’t lie down and had to sleep sitting up.

Of the patients who stuck to the programme, there was not a single cardiac event over the next 12 years! All were alive and well and had reversed their disease.
Results of Dr Caldwell Esselstyn


How Veggie Diets Protect your Heart

Cutting Cholesterol

Vegetarians, especially vegans eat much less saturated fat and cholesterol than meat eaters. It’s little surprise that they also have healthier levels of blood cholesterol.

Bringing Down Blood Pressure

Vegetarians have much lower blood pressure than meat eaters. A low-fat veggie diet can cut the risk of high blood pressure by up to half. It is the totality of the diet that works, not any specific ingredient.

Full of Fibre

Fibre reduces blood cholesterol levels. More good news for veggies, who tend to eat more fibre than meat eaters. There’s none in animal products (meat or dairy).

Antioxidants Abound

A healthy veggie diet – higher in fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, pulses and nuts – is brimming with antioxidants. These can help strengthen the arteries and inhibit the build up of plaques.

Slim Veggies

Carrying excess fat increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. As weight increases, so do blood pressure and cholesterol. Going veggie leads to a healthier, lower body mass index (BMI).

Nature’s Aspirin

Veggies’ blood levels of salicylic acid are up to one-and-a-half times higher than meat eaters’. Salicylic acid is the main ingredient in aspirin, prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attacks by fighting the inflammation that causes them. And it seems that salicylic acid is also present in fruit and veg.


Have a Heart Campaign Launch

In advance of World Heart Day on Sunday 30 September, Viva! Health launched a healthy heart campaign in Glasgow.

The VVF chose a Scottish launch as 83.4 per cent of Glaswegians – around half a million people – have high blood pressure (over 130/85). This rate is higher than any other city in the UK.

The VVF has produced a wealth of new resources to steer people towards a heart-healthy diet. Our new A5 full-colour guide, Have a Heart, is brimming with information, tips and easy-to-follow recipes showing how to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as heart disease and stroke. It also demonstrates simple disease-busting changes you can make to your meals – with results that will please everyone!

The VVF has also produced:-

- A scientific fact sheet, Plant-Based Diets and Cardiovascular Disease, which investigates the causes of CVD and explains how a plant-based diet can be used to both prevent and treat the UK’s biggest health problem;

- A handy pocket-sized guide, Do You Know Your Numbers? Blood Pressure, which gives the low-down on blood pressure and explains why a plant-based diet is the perfect way to lower it – and how it is the totality of the diet that works, not any specific ingredient;

- Car stickers you can customize with your own blood pressure numbers – ‘My blood pressure? Only 110/68 because I’m vegetarian’.

Campaign Resources
Get heart healthy with Viva! Health. More...

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Watch The Last Heart Attack to hear how some heart disease experts believe heart disease is entirely preventable; and how and why Bill Clinton went vegan to save his life after having a by-pass procedure following years of bad eating and stress.
Watch it on YouTube here.

 
 

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