Book Review-Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

Review of Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

by Matthew Kujath

A good friend of mine introduced me to this book. Like me, his doctor recommended he start taking cholesterol medication. The research on keeping a healthy cholesterol level is extensive and well documented. In the United States, more than half a million people die every year of coronary artery disease, and more than three times that many suffer known heart attacks. Additionally, statistics show that nearly 3 million more have silent heart attacks. Research has found family history to be a key indicator to an individual’s risk of heart disease. In short, if your family has a history of heart disease, history has a tendency to repeat itself.

Now that I’ve reached the age of 40, I’ve started to realize that I’m mortal. In fact, it might be a good idea for me to take care of my body. In the past, I’ve tried more than a few diets in an effort to lose a few pounds here and there. Somehow, I kept finding those same pounds again.

In Esselstyn’s book, he states that the United States spends more than $250 billion a year on heart disease. But the truly shocking statistic is that nearly all of that money is devoted to the treatment of symptoms. The problem with this approach is that the damage to the heart is already done — and that’s assuming the heart attack doesn’t kill you first. Esselstyn explains that through diet you not only can prevent heart disease, but you can also reverse the dangerous blockage that might have already occurred in your arteries.

The simple rules of the diet are:

1. You cannot eat anything with a mother or a face, which means no meat, poultry or fish.

2. No dairy products.

3. No oil of any kind (including olive oil).

4. Generally, no nuts of any kind or avocados.

Now I understand I have just lost the interest of most of the readers. This is more of a lifestyle change than a diet. And because of this, half of the book is devoted to recipes and suggestions for meals and snacks. I’ve found that cooking with fresh vegetables puts much more flavor in my meals. I can also say that the best parts of this lifestyle change are the energy boost and youthful, healthy feeling that comes with it.

Oh, and I almost forgot; one side effect of this diet is that your body naturally trims down. The author says you will even get back to your high school weight over time.  I recommend that everyone read this book. If nothing else, you’ll better understand how what you eat affects your overall health.

➝ Matthew Kujath has worked in the insurance industry for the past 17 years and is the director of sales for the personal lines division and select business unit for Winter Dent & Co.