A Healthy Heart Starts In The Kitchen
Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s goal is to end heart disease. It’s the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. He bases his approach on a nutrition plan that some would call “aggressive.” He is a six-time New York Times bestselling author and the board certified family physician.
His latest book, “The End of Heart Disease-The Eat To Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”, lays out what he terms a Nutritarian approach to health. A Nutritarian diet is plant-based and centered on whole, unprocessed foods including seeds and beans. He recommends meals should have no more than 10% animal protein (versus the average America diet of 32%).
Dr. Fuhrman claims that not only will his eating plan prevent heart disease, but it will also reverse obstructive heart disease. Some of the other positive side effects are the lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure, the reduced need for medication, and a reduction in body fat.
Patients can avoid cardiac bypass or angioplasty. Another surprising benefit is that this way of eating reduces the risk of cancer.
The medical profession bases its current approach on pharmacological and surgical intervention. There are no guarantees with these treatments. They also create under-appreciated risks.
While many claim that his approach is aggressive, Dr. Fuhrman counters with the comment that eating a plant-based diet is certainly less aggressive than cracking open some somebody’s chest for a heart procedure.
GBOMBS and SAD
He bases his approach around foods remembered through his acronym, “GBOMBS.” The G stands for Greens, the B is for Beans, O for Onions, M is for Mushrooms, the second B is for Berries, and the S is for Seeds.
One way to get most of these foods at one time is to have a big salad at least once a day. Macronutrient percentages are not a big consideration in the plan as you will get all the macronutrients and micronutrients you need if you follow Dr. Fuhrman’s meal recommendations. He stresses that fats are necessary but that they should come from nuts and seeds instead of oil or animal products.
It’s true that responsibly raised, sustainable, grass-fed and pastured sources of meat are better than the meat you get from Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s). Dr. Fuhrman points out that in places like Australia or Uruguay where the animals are raised in much better conditions than they are in the United States, people still have the same rate of heart attack as here in the US.
Eating responsibly and having a solid nutrition plan is not just a nice add-on to a healthy lifestyle. It is central to Dr. Fuhrman’s plan to erase heart disease from modern life.
While, at first it may appear too challenging for people on the Standard American Diet (SAD) to center their meals around a plant-based regime, people’s taste buds can change. In fact, research indicates that people’s tastes will change within 3 to 6 months of introducing new foods into their diet. One of the hidden dangers of the Standard American Diet is that many of the processed foods we eat cause a food addiction.
They affect the same brain cells and pleasure and reward centers as opiates do. The brain wants to protect the current behaviors that make it feel good. Food addiction takes away our ability to make better decisions about our health.
The Doctor’s Responsibility
The medical profession needs to provide more information and access to knowledge. This way, people can make informed decisions.
Despite the Nutritarian focus on plant-based whole foods and its limits on red meat, getting adequate protein is not a large concern.
One problem with our current diet is that many people consume too much animal protein. While animal protein is more bioavailable than protein found in plants, it also increases our production of IGF-1.
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) is a natural human growth hormone instrumental in normal growth during childhood, but in adulthood can promote abnormal growth—the proliferation, spread (metastasis), and invasion of cancer. Protein from plants takes longer to absorb, and this means that the body utilizes it in a more intelligent way that does not activate the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).
Conventional treatment for heart disease reduces the risk by only 10 to 20%. Statins that are used to lower cholesterol also cause an increased rate of breast cancer. When drugs are used to push blood pressure down, and the bottom number, the diastolic, goes too low, it can cause sudden cardiac arrest. These dangers are not present in a Nutritarian approach
As Dr. Fuhrrman points out “if we didn’t have these modern approaches, doctors would be forced to tell people they’ve got to make a change in their diet.”
The consumption of more salads, beans, seeds, and fruit would create a health and productivity revolution in this country. You can start your personal revolution today.