Separating Fact from Fiction in Prevention and Progression of Cardiovascular Disease
At Briglia Dental Group in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we believe in the power of healthy nutrition not only to keep your teeth and gums strong and functional. But the correct food choices can also promote the well-being of the “whole you.” Led by Dr. Ron Briglia, our team partners with patients to provide guidance in lifestyle factors, including food products that protect against deadly, chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
What is wrong with surgical or drug treatments for cardiovascular disease and related events?
We echo the words of the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., a pioneer in food-based/nutritional therapy: the current approach to cardiovascular disease (CVD) is akin to radical mastectomy used to treat breast cancer until the 1980s. Like radical mastectomy, surgical and medical alternatives to lifestyle and nutritional modifications for CVD are often expensive and are accompanied by undesirable side effects. Dr. Esselstyn’s research proved that you could prevent and reverse heart disease with a strictly plant-based diet. His research showed that narrowing arteries could be opened through diet without heart catheterizations or stents. In his clinical studies, he shows that patients scheduled for bypass surgery could avoid that surgery. And by following a strict plant-based diet, they were able to open narrowed arteries and thicken the epithelial layer over the soft plaques, essentially making them “heart-attack” proof. This diet is not easy, and Dr. Briglia has gone vegan and plans to prevent heart disease and avoid heart procedures by diet.
To learn about Dr. Esselstyn’s research, teachings and diet, go to YouTube and Google,” Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s preventing and reversing heart disease. You will find multiple YouTube videos of his on many topics on his program. Is his diet easy to do? No, it is NOT easy and takes a lot of will and discipline to stay on track. But if you are facing a heart procedure, stent, or even heart bypass, you owe it to yourself to learn about what Dr. Esselstyn is teaching. As of this date in March 2022, Dr. Esselstyn is 87 years old, is in excellent health, and continues to teach and help people learn to save themselves.
This diet can also reduce the risk of diabetes, strokes, and many types of cancer. This diet can even open arteries and decrease and prevent ED in men. Nitric oxide is a potent antioxidant and an excellent vasodilator. To flood your system with this miracle molecule of nitric oxide throughout the day, Dr. Esselstyn recommends the following; Take ½ a handful of greens, for example, baby spinach, and put that in your mouth and slowly chew it over 4-5 minutes. These greens combine with certain enzymes from your tongue to produce nitric oxide. Once you swallow the greens, the nitric oxide in the digestive tract turns the nitric oxide into nitric oxide gas. This gas then permeates the thin epithelial layer that lines all blood vessels. In the epithelial layer, this gas causes vasodilation and, as a potent antioxidant, oxidizes a lot of the “bad stuff” in that layer.
You will learn much more about nitric oxide, what to eat, and what NOT to eat or drink through Dr. Esselstyn’s online YouTube videos and his book, “Preventing And Reversing Heart Disease.”
Two documentaries can be found on Youtube that further advocate for a plant-based diet and why a plant-based diet is the best way to live a long healthy life. Those two documentaries are:
- “Forks Over Knives” and
- “Game Changers”
We encourage patients to look at CVD and related conditions through the lens of it being a toothless paper tiger. Indeed, the disease need not ever exist. And should it arise, CVD need not progress. As a mild foodborne illness, we as individuals create these and other conditions with our western diet. And in turn, we can reverse or protect against these diseases with whole food, a plant-based diet high in ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity).
How do some foods support a healthy heart?
Some foods aid endothelial cells to produce a truly magic molecule: nitric oxide! Among nitric oxide’s many powers is its ability to protect against hypertension by preventing the artery walls from getting stiff. In addition, an abundance of nitric oxide aids in stopping the development of blockages or plaques.
What are some of the best foods to support these beneficial processes?
We encourage the consumption of whole wheat cereals, whole wheat bread, and whole-wheat pasta. There are also 101 different types of tasty legumes, lentils, and beans to choose from. Veggies, particularly sweet potatoes, are excellent for your heart, and don’t forget your fruit. But nature’s powerhouse heart protector comes in the form of the humble leafy green. Leafy greens such as kale are high in ORAC, very high in nitric oxide, and are the antioxidants you want to reach for – rather than a bottle of supplements.
Additionally, don’t blend your greens. To get the best value and heart health bang for your dollar, we recommend cooking them until they are tender and anointing them with several drops of balsamic vinegar. This combination unleashes the nitric oxide molecule, the potent antioxidant, and vasodilator.
Are there any “no-go” foods?
Yes! The least heart-healthy foods of the bunch are oils. And this includes so-called healthy oils such as those derived from olives or coconuts. Be sure to read your labels, as there may be hidden sources of oils in bread, crackers, and other products. Basically, avoid anything with a “Face or a Mother” – examples you avoid eating, all meats, chicken/fowl, fish and seafood, eggs, and any forms of dairy – including any milk, sour cream, butter, ice cream, and cheese. You also avoid nuts as they have a lot of oil in them. You also need to avoid sugars and sweeteners, from refined sugar to molasses and caffeinated coffee. Interestingly, caffeinated tea is OK. Also, a bit of organic pure maple syrup is OK as it contains no fat, no saturated fats, no cholesterol, and no salt.
The rewards of making over your diet are substantial. You’ll also have the joy of potentially discovering new foods and flavors. At Briglia Dental Group, we look forward to being your partners in oral health and health in general. Call (610) 615 0160 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Briglia today at our office in West Chester.
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