Ischaemic heart disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in New Zealand and around the world. Eating habits and other lifestyle factors play a key role in determining the risk of heart disease.

Pioneering studies by Dean Ornish, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD, and others have shown that a low-fat, plant-based diet, combined with regular exercise and a healthy overall lifestyle, can prevent, delay, and even reverse heart disease and other cardiovascular events.

Dr. Ornish’s landmark study tested the effects of a plant-based diet on participants with moderate to severe heart disease. There were no surgeries or stents—just simple diet and lifestyle changes. Within weeks, 90 percent of chest pain diminished. After just one month, blood flow to the heart improved. After a year, even severely blocked arteries had reopened. At the Cleveland Clinic in the USA, Dr. Esselstyn tested the same approach on patients with severe heart disease and published similar results. Thirty years later, all of the compliant patients are still thriving.

Plant-based diets benefit heart health because they contain no dietary cholesterol, very little saturated fat, and abundant fiber. Meat, cheese, and eggs, on the other hand, are packed with cholesterol and saturated fat, which cause plaque buildup in the arteries, eventually leading to heart disease.


Can Lifestyle Changes Reverse Coronary Heart Disease?
The Lancet (PDF)

Effects of Stress Management Training & Dietary Changes in Treating Ischemic Heart Disease
Journal of the American Medical Association (PDF)

Long Term Effects of Lifestyle Changes on Well-Being and Cardiac Variables Among Coronary Heart Disease Patients
Health Psychology (PDF)

Resolving the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic through Plant-Based Nutrition
Dr Caldwell Esselstyn Jr MD

Research papers

The BROAD study
A randomised controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes

A Review of Plant-based Diets to Prevent and Treat Heart Failure”,”

A plant-based diet and heart failure: case report and literature review 

A plant-based diet, atherogenesis, and coronary artery disease prevention 

A plant-based diet and coronary artery disease: a mandate for effective therapy

Long-term low-calorie low-protein vegan diet and endurance exercise are associated with low cardiometabolic risk.

Heart Failure and a Plant-Based Diet. A Case-Report and Literature Review