Case Study: Plant-Based Diet Reversed Angina

AnginaPlantDietCase Report: A Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet Reversed Angina Without Medications Or Procedures, Case Reports in Cardiology, online 12 February 2015

A 60-year-old man presented with typical angina and had a positive stress test. He declined both drug therapy and invasive testing. Instead, he chose to adopt a whole-food plant-based diet, which consisted primarily of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, potatoes, beans, legumes, and nuts. His symptoms improved rapidly, as well as his weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Plant-based diets have been associated with improved plasma lipids, diabetes control, coronary artery disease and with a reduction in mortality. Adoption of this form of lifestyle therapy should be among the first recommendations for patients with atherosclerosis.

Look at his previous diet, the darling of dietitians:

He described his prior diet as a “healthy” diet of skinless chicken, fish and low-fat dairy with some vegtables, fruits, and nuts.

On that diet, he couldn’t walk 1-2 blocks without chest pain. So, he dropped the animal food, and…

Within a few weeks of lifestyle change his symptoms improved. After four months, his BMI fell from 26 kg/m2 to 22 kg/m2, his blood pressure normalized, and his LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol decreased from 158 mg/dL to 69 mg/dL. Previously unable to engage in physical exercise, he could now walk one mile without angina.

When you stop eating animal food, your diet naturally becomes more carbohydrate-rich. Does that carbohydrate give you diabetes? Does it make diabetes more difficult to manage? No, and no:

A whole-food plant-based diet improves plasma lipids [2], glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus [3,4], reduces weight [5] and blood pressure [6–8], improves vascular function [9], may profoundly improve coronary artery disease [10–13], and is associated with reduced mortality [14–17]. Furthermore, a dose-response-like effect has been noted where the greater the adherence to a healthy lifestyle including a WFPB diet the greater the apparent benefit [18], and a growing body of evidence suggests animal based foods may not be optimal for health [19–21].

Some of that body of evidence:

Our case reinforces these findings and highlights that even in our “modern” Western society such improvements can be achieved without medications or procedures. These results support prior epidemiologic studies which documented the virtual absence of coronary artery disease in plant-based indigenous populations, such as in parts of China [22], a highland population of New Guinea [23], the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico [24] and in South Africa [25]. Furthermore, mortality from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease decreased when access to animal products was restricted in Norway during World War II and increased as access was returned [26].

Why wouldn’t you want to at least try a plant-based diet?

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