In a new study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, researchers found a whole-food plant-based diet reversed angina without medications or procedures.
Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease.
Angina feels like squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in the chest. It can be sudden or recur over time.
Depending on the severity, it can be treated by lifestyle changes, medication, angioplasty, or surgery.
In the case study, 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.
The team found 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, the man could now walk one mile without angina.
The team found his clinical improvement continued and two years after initial presentation, he was able to jog more than 4 miles without incident.
The man remains asymptomatic, off drug therapy for coronary artery disease, and has not required cardiac catheterization.
The team says 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.
Cholesterol guidelines highlight lifestyle modification as a critical component of health promotion and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk reduction.
This study reinforces this sometimes-overlooked portion of the guideline’s recommendations.
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The study is published in Case Reports in Cardiology and was conducted by Daniele Massera et al.
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