In the United States, we experience more than one million heart attacks per year, which is approximately one heart attack about every 30 seconds. The American Heart Association predicts that in the next 20 years more than 33 million Americans may develop some form of heart disease.
Not only can heart disease cause instant death with a heart attack, it is also costly. For example, the average by-pass heart surgery costs more than $112,000 dollars and more than 450,000 procedures are performed annually.
The annual cost totals more than $50 billion dollars. These monies might be better spent on education and research about the proper foods to prevent heart disease and heart attacks.
There are different schools of thought regarding the type of diet to follow for a healthy heart.
One very interesting diet recommendation is Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s plant-based diet. Dr. Esselstyn’s diet has been highlighted in the movie ʺForks Over Knivesʺ and in his book ʺPrevent and Reverse Heart Disease.ʺ
Dr. Esselstyn studied the cultures which had zero to very little heart disease. These cultures include the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, Papua New Guinea highlanders, rural Chinese and central Africans.
The mantra of Dr. Esselstyn’s diet is to eat nothing that has a mother or a face. Also, his diet has no meat, dairy, oil, fish and chicken. The plant-based diet recommends whole grains (cereal, pasta, etc.) beans, vegetables (yellow, green, red) and fruit.
For many, Dr. Esselstyn’s diet is difficult to follow because of our meat-based culture. However, there are many who are following Dr. Esselysten’s diet.
After his second heart disease scare, former President Bill Clinton decided to follow Dr. Esselstyn’s diet. These high-powered CEOs and former CEOs are either vegetarians or vegans. They include Michael Eisner, John Mackey, Russell Simmons, Steve Winn and Mort Zuckerman.
According to the Franklin Institute, other heart-healthy diet choices you might want to consider are the following diet guidelines:
• Beware of chemicals in your food like caffeine, MSG, and other food additives.