The Silent Killer: Heart Disease

The Silent Killer

A few weeks ago, I got a call from a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while. He asked me, did you hear about Paul? 

Paul is a good friend of ours, whom I have known for over 20 years.

“Paul is in intensive care at the hospital,” my friend said, “He has just had a quintuple bypass operation.” 

I was shocked.

In recent months, we noticed that Paul’s face was always swollen, which caught our attention. We jokingly thought he had some Botox done; though the problem was obviously more serious.

Paul didn’t look fat on the outside and no one could tell that he was unhealthy. He was known for eating a lot of processed foods and not getting enough exercise. He also liked to eat meat!

Excess body fat causes a range of heart and blood vessel diseases; even if you are not obese or even overweight, you can still accumulate enough fat on the inside to cause serious harm.

Paul’s heart problems aren’t unique. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. One person dies every 36 seconds in the country from cardiovascular disease.

The question is: Is it possible to reverse heart disease with diet? It turns out that YES, it is! Many interventional studies have shown that arterial plaque can disappear in people on a low-fat, whole-food, vegan diet.

For those of us working in the natural health field, this is not new. Many well-known nutritionists have written extensively on the health benefits of consuming a low fat, high carb vegan diet.

These include T. Colin Campbell, Douglas Graham, John McDougall, Michael Klaper, William Harris, Ruth Heidrich, Michael Greger, and Neal Barnard, among others.

All of these professionals agree that approximately 10% of total calories from plant-based fat are moderate and more than adequate, and that health declines significantly on practically every level when fat consumption rises above the mid-teens.

Yet, most people in the western world eat FOUR TIMES that amount of fat.

You are probable wondering how a vegan, or WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) diet compares to the raw food diet, in the context of heart disease.

It is very likely that within our lifetime we will not see studies done on people eating low fat, raw food diets and the effect on diseases; simply because healthy raw food diets are not commercially sound for our capitalist system. Who’s going to pay for such studies, MacDonald’s? Pepsi? Big Pharma? The government? I don’t think so.

We do, however, have common sense, and sciences such as Natural Hygiene point us in the right direction. The great advantage of adopting a raw, or mostly raw, high fruit, plant-based diet is that, since we consume a significant portion of our calories from fresh fruit, this dramatically reduces the amount of fat and salt we intake. This, in turn, leads to a healthier heart, as well as helps prevent many other diseases.

One of the main sources of harmful fat in vegan, and non-vegan diets is the use of oils (whether is olive, coconut, or other vegetable oils). We do not use oils in low fat, raw food diets.

A study done by Dr. Robert Vogel at the University of Maryland and reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that olive oil (considered to be the “healthiest” of oils); reduces blood flow in arteries by 31 percent after consumption, which is rather shocking.

The study also found that olive oil injures the inner lining of the arteries (called endothelium). This damage causes inflammation, which leads to atherosclerosis.

There’s nothing wrong with fat; we’d die without it. But it’s critical that we eat it in the right amounts and in the right form.

Paul survived his ordeal and is making a steady, but slow recovery. His condition should be a reminder to us all of the dangers of not looking after one’s health, how cardiovascular disease can be a treacherous killer, and the good news of how we can totally avoid, and even reverse, this condition by improving our nutrition and keeping fit.

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