Heart failure

How to Reverse Congestive Heart Failure with a Plant-Based Diet: Advice from Dr. Greger

Whole Plant Diet for Heart Health | Photo credit: iStock Images


  • With each passing day, it becomes more and more clear that we can change the fate of our health simply by working on what we put in our mouths.
  • Heart-healthy foods are actually some of the cheapest foods available on earth. What’s stopping us from making the change?
  • If you want to live a long and healthy life, know what is the best food for your heart.

One of the biggest proponents of plant-based diets, Dr. Michael Greger, is thrilled because a whole number one cardiology review is dedicated to plant nutrition. He points out that the issue explores the role an evidence-based diet can play in reversing congestive heart failure.

Welcoming the advent of truth in people’s lives, finally, Dr Gregory emphasizes that “reading the existing literature and assessing the impact of plant-based nutrition clearly represents the most important opportunity to reverse the impending epidemic of obesity-induced morbidity and mortality and diabetes”.

The newspaper cites the case mentioned by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA. A 77-year-old woman with unstable angina, whose heart disease symptoms resolved without mechanical intervention while consuming a plant-based diet. Her medical history included hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and long-distance smoking for which she had taken cardiac care medication. At her base, she could walk more than half a mile without complaining. Over the two to three months before the presentation, she gradually developed chest pressure and shortness of breath to the point that she was unable to walk more than half a city block or even a single set of stairs. She was referred for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

Switching to a whole plant-based diet helped her beat heart disease:
But the patient opted out of the surgery and instead opted to eat a whole plant-based diet, which included all vegetables, fruits, whole grains, potatoes, beans, legumes, and nuts. She eliminated all animal products, such as eggs, cow’s milk, yogurt, chicken, and beef, and checked into our Cardiac Wellness Program. But she fondly referred to her previous diet as a “healthy” Western diet.

Within a month of the lifestyle change, her symptoms were almost gone and she was able to walk on a treadmill for up to 50 minutes without chest discomfort or dyspnoea. Her total cholesterol went down in three months.

Another descent after switching to animal feed:
Four to five months after the initial lifestyle change, she began to yearn for her old style of eating and her adherence to a whole plant-based diet ended. She resumed eating chicken, fish, low fat dairy and other animal products several times a day. Although there were no changes in medication, her anginal symptoms returned within four to six weeks. She had chest discomfort with minimal exertion in a gym and she was admitted to an outside hospital. Soon she underwent coronary bypass surgery, a coronary stent was placed a year later for another episode of unstable angina.

This case highlights the potential of this lifestyle to help rapidly improve angina symptoms and help improve the atherosclerotic disease process. This potential is reinforced by the patient’s rapid deterioration despite no change in her medications when she returned to her baseline “healthy” Western diet, according to the treating physicians.

Dr. Greger mentions another case study. This one has a happier ending.

A 60-year-old man who suffered from severe chest pain – ditched his “healthy” diet of chicken, fish and eggs and chose to take control and switch to a plant-based diet. Unable to exercise at all or unable to walk, he continued to run 4 miles a day.

Clinical trials nearly 40 years show cases of heart disease and congestive heart failure were successfully reversed JUST 6 weeks after switching to a whole plant-based diet.

A 54-year-old woman with grade 3 obesity, A BMI of 45.2 kg/m² and heart failure with several other comorbidities could lose weight, reverse his diabetes without drugs and normalize his heart function.

At the end of the line :
Dr. Greger makes the case for adopting whole, plant-based diets by saying that heart failure is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and usually worsens over time. He advises doctors to start advising patients to switch to healthier plant-based diets instead of asking them to ‘use a leaner cut of meat’ or ‘use low-fat dairy’. .

Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are provided for general information only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.