Just a friendly reminder from Dr. Ernst Schaefer of Tufts University:
When I saw that slide in one of the presentations I went to at FNCE, I really wished that everyone in the world GOT that. I’ve talked to plenty of people who said, “I’ll worry about what I eat when I get older.” What those people don’t realize is that plaque starts building up in your arteries during your childhood if you’re not taking care of yourself. If you wait until you are “older” to start treating your body well, it could be too late. Tim Russert was only 58 years old when he died of a heart attack. If he had understood this concept, I think his story would have had a much different ending. (More on the Tim Russert story in a later post.)
It’s never too late to start making changes, though. Studies have shown that you can shrink the plaque formation. Dr. Dean Ornish conducted a small trial with 48 people with severe heart disease. Half of them followed his "reversal diet" (a mostly vegetarian diet with no more than 10 percent of calories from fat), engaged in daily exercise, worked on stress management, and received group support. The arterial plaque in this group shrank and there was a significant drop in cholesterol and blood pressure. The group who was not following these recommendations saw an increase in their plaque formation.
The reversal process isn’t quick—it can take a few years to reduce your risk of heart disease. Why not start now by making some small changes? And for our kids, won’t it be easier if they grow up eating whole grains, low fat proteins, and lots of fruits and vegetables, instead of having to change their habits later in life? Give yourself and your family the best shot at living a healthy, disease-free life!