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Blocked Arteries: Clean Them Out Naturally

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Beyond Diet - Physical Fitness

In this chapter we have seen that an excellent lifestyle is essential for anyone that wishes to reverse coronary artery disease. More than that, it is the basis for preventing heart disease from occurring in the first place. This lifestyle must include a diet that has negligible amounts of dietary cholesterol and is low in saturated fat. Besides being on a good diet, one needs to have a regular program of moderate exercise.

The importance of regular exercise in preventing and reversing heart disease needs to be emphasized. Regular exercise alone has been shown to help the heart in many studies. I will cite just one. A 19-year study of about 10,000 men addressed the impact of regular aerobic exercise on the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.46 They were categorized into three groups as determined by each participant taking two fitness tests on a treadmill at an average of five years apart. Thus, physical fitness was assessed for each participant at the start and again after five years. Those who enjoyed sustained physical fitness (passed both tests) comprised the first group. Those who had short-lived fitness (passed only one of the two tests) made up the second group. The third group consisted of those who were unfit (failed both tests). The results are shown in Figure 19: Regular Exercise Reduces Risk of Coronary Heart Disease.

Note that those who were physically fit and maintained their fitness had the lowest risk. The risk was twice as much for those who failed to maintain a lasting fitness program, and was over four times as much for the non-exercisers.

Another significant result is that in addition to the benefit for the heart, those that maintained their fitness also had the lowest risk of death from all causes. It is sobering to recognize that non-exercisers increase their risk of death from heart disease by about the same amount as smokers. In other words, from the standpoint of heart disease, you probably have little right to pat yourself on the back for not smoking unless you exercise regularly. Exercise is clearly a major part of any program to prevent or reverse heart disease.

Healthier Lifestyle-Better Sense of Well-being

The Lifestyle Heart Trial also looked at the "before and after" results of how well participants fared as far as their general sense of well-being was concerned. Each participant was asked to fill out a questionnaire before and after the study regarding his or her psychological distresses. They were asked to rate their degree of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and their inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia). These four distresses were totaled to yield a distress index level for each participant. The average levels are shown in Figure 20: Changes in Psychological Distress in the Lifestlye Heart Trial.

It came as a surprise to many that after one year it was the vegetarian group that not only felt better physically, but mentally as well. They had a decrease in depression and anxiety, fewer problems with stress, and improved interpersonal relationships.47

Many mistakenly believe that their overall enjoyment of life will deteriorate if they change to a healthy lifestyle, especially if they become vegetarians. What will I tell my friends when I go out to eat? Will I have to sacrifice attending certain social events because of my new diet? What about my relatives coming home for the holidays? Will my taste buds suffer? Will my hunger be satisfied? Despite all of these new "problems," the vegetarian group enjoyed life more, and even had a better social life than before.

46 Blair SN, Kohl HW 3rd, et al. Changes in physical fitness and all-cause mortality. A prospective study of healthy and unhealthy men. JAMA 1995 Apr 12;273(14):1093-1098.

47 Ornish, D., Brown, S.E., et al. 1990. Can Lifestyle Changes Reverse Coronary Heart Disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet Jul 21;336(8708) :129-133.

Notice of Credit
The article above is compliments of the Uchee Pines Institute, Seale, Alabama, a teaching and treatment facility devoted to natural remedies. For mor information, call 334-855-4781,e-mail:, or visit their Website:

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