For Proper Diet and a Healthy Lifestyle

In my opinion, Dean Ornish has written some of the most authoritative and well-researched literature on health in the last 30 years. I heard him speak at an anti-aging symposium in the 1980s, where he presented his initial studies on reversing heart disease through life-style modifications. His most recent book, The Spectrum, expands on the same principles of disease prevention. The end of the book lists 235 references that support his recommendations, all from reputable medical journals. Dr. Ornish advises three basic measures: A plant-based, low-fat nutritional regimen including fruits, vegetables, non-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans, with minimal use of animal products Exercise for a minimum of 2-1/2hours a week, including measures to support flexibility Stress reduction, mainly through supportive relationships and meditation In study after study involving animals or humans, he documents prevention or reversal of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression, dementia, and several forms of cancer. These are the major diseases of present time, all of them growing in epidemic patterns around the world. As the rest of the world adopts the Western lifestyle, obesity flourishes, along with its offspring of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Cancers of the prostate, breast, uterus, colon, and kidney correlate with obesity. Dr. Ornish founded the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California. Programs involving nearly a thousand individuals in the last three decades have demonstrated that diseases and symptoms can disappear, medications can be discontinued, and surgery can be avoided in the majority of cases. For example, lifestyle changes are far more effective in the treatment of chronic heart pain than stents. The Spectrum was written for lay people. The language is easy to understand, and the basic principles are repeated enough times to stick. Dr. Ornish advises a gradient approach to the program. It can be adopted little by little over time, so the changeover is not overwhelming. He allows for occasional indulgences, which will not undo the benefits. Read the book. It may only reinforce what you already know, but that in itself is valuable. Allan Sosin MD

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