A US study has concluded that following a plant based diet can not only prevent cardiovascular disease but also reverse it.

The study which lasted just under 4 years, followed 200 patients with established heart disease. They were required to follow diet based on whole grains, legumes, lentils, vegetables and fruit along with a multivitamin formula, B12 supplement and ground flax seeds (linseeds).

Throughout the study there was an extremely good adherence rate with only one person experiencing a serious cardiovascular event – over 99% of the participants avoided a major cardiac event.

Of those who did not stick to the dietary recommendations had an event rate of 62%.  Preventative measures with either statins or surgery had virtually no impact on mortality – 0% reduction from surgery and only 1% from statins.

The group who ran the study had previously had success with the same program since the 1980s, demonstrating improvements in cardiac function, reducing angina and evidence of reversal of heart disease.

In summary, the present cardiovascular medicine approach tested beyond 40 years can neither cure the disease nor end the epidemic and is financially unsustainable” wrote the authors. “The safety, diminished expense, and prompt, powerful, and persistent results in treating the cause of vascular disease by whole-food plant-based nutrition offer a paradigm shift from existing practice. We think the time is right for a controlled trial. But in the meantime, the data are sound and strong enough that patients should be informed of this option.”


1. Esselstyn GB, et al. A way to reverse CAD? J Fam Pract. 2014 July;63(7):356-364,364a,364b. – link to free full-text

2. Do statins have a role in primary prevention? An update. Therapeutics Letter. Issue 77: 2010. – link to free full-text


Information originated from article in Time for Wellness blog (http://www.timeforwellness.org/blog-view/reverse-heart-disease-with-nutrition-398)