For over 20 years, Dr. Dean Ornish has been making headlines as the first doctor to prove that heart disease can be reversed by a change of lifestyle. "You have to treat the cause. If you treat the cause, your body can quickly begin to heal," Dr. Ornish says.Dr. Ornish's Heart-Healthy Suggestions
- The plan involves a low-fat, high-fiber diet that puts food into three categories: foods to choose most often, foods to eat in moderation, and foods to choose least often.
- Don't count calories. Instead, keep track of fat and sugar, which cause problems for the heart.
- Choose a diet high in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains not high in animal proteins.
- Try to replace white foods such as sugar, white rice and white flour with whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat flour.
- Try to use hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils less often. They preserve food but could add to your cholesterol levels.
- Take three grams a day of fish oil. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it can reduce sudden cardiac death by 50–80 percent. It can also reduce incidences of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Conversely, women (but not men) may try flax seed oil.
- Everybody should know his or her cholesterol level. The goal should be to get the total cholesterol number under 150, and the LDL (or the "bad" cholesterol) under 95.
- Smoking contributes to a much greater risk of heart disease. If you smoke and take birth control pills, you quadruple your risk.