Heart Health

“Some people think the ‘plant-based, whole foods diet’ is extreme. Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery. Some people would call that extreme”
– Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.

“Normal” blood cholesterol levels in Australia are not normal or supportive of good health. These “normal” levels result in an enormous burden of heart disease and a population in which almost everyone has artery disease by age 65. The national goal of less than 5.5 is well up into the zone in which artery disease develops. The medical profession knows this and the official safe level for cholesterol following a heart attack is less than 3.8 approximately (the target being LDL<1.8). So, we have the situation where you can be reassured by your doctor that your cholesterol level of 5 is OK, suffer a heart attack later that day, and be told the next morning that your cholesterol needs to be less than 4 to prevent further heart attacks. A whole foods plant based diet can lower your cholesterol to a safe level without the inconvenience of having to have a heart attack first. More on Normal Cholesterol


Changing to a whole foods plant based diet results in dramatic falls in blood cholesterol levels. The medical myth that diet has little effect on cholesterol stems from the fact that the current cholesterol lowering diet recommended in Australia is not effective. A diet rich in animal “protein” foods, with or without vegetable oil, will always raise cholesterol. In general, animal products raise blood cholesterol and whole plant foods lower blood cholesterol. More on Diet and Cholesterol


Blood cholesterol is complex. Your blood test results will include measurements of some of the individual lipoproteins, HDL and LDL. But there are further levels of complexity that should make us wary dismissing the risks of elevated blood cholesterol on the basis of “good cholesterol” levels and ratios. More on HDL and LDL


Cholesterol lowering drugs and heart surgery are quick fixes for a complex diet related disease. The drugs only target fasting cholesterol, which although important, is only one part of the cholesterol-diet problem. Stents and surgery are seldom life saving and carry considerable risks. More on Drugs and Surgery


The endothelium is the lining of our arteries and consists of a single layer of tile-like cells. The endothelium is central to artery health and disease. Anything that compromises the health of the endothelium has an immediate effect on the flow of blood to every organ. Atherosclerosis, the obstruction of arteries by cholesterol, is merely the end result of repeated endothelial damage. Every fat and cholesterol laden meal causes an inflammatory storm within the arteries that lasts for many hours and has a measureable effect on endothelial function. More on Endothelium


Atherosclerosis is the thick cholesterol laden plaque that builds up on the inside of our arteries when we eat the typical Australian diet. Arteries do not simply gradually block up like a rusting water pipe. Heart attacks are most often the result of a sudden blockage in an artery that is only partially blocked with plaque. A whole foods plant based diet rapidly reduces the risk of heart attack. More on Atherosclerosis and Heart Attacks


Atherosclerosis is a whole body disease affecting every artery. Therefore any organ can potentially be compromised by impaired blood supply. A partially blocked artery may cause symptoms such leg muscle pain on exertion. A sudden complete blockage may result in a stroke. Diseased small vessels can cause dementia and kidney failure. Even in the absence of artery narrowing, an unhealthy artery may be unable dilate, resulting in erectile dysfunction. More on The Canary and Other Organs



Esselstyn, C. B. (2007). Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure. New York: Avery.
Dr Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. MD, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, carried out the longest and one of the most successful trials of curing heart disease with diet. He describes heart disease as a toothless paper tiger that need never exist. Have a look at a free Excerpt from Chapter One of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

This is his website: Dr Esselstyn’s Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease Program – click on the Video tab to see a links to more videos that present his work, some of which are listed below.


Eating greens 6 times per day:

Dr Michael Greger videos on heart disease:

Web resources


Peer-reviewed articles

Success stories


Page created 13th January 2013
Last updated 24th September 2018