Former President Bill Clinton has revealed that his diet is turning plant-based and heart-healthy. He said he believes the vegan regimen is helping to reverse the damage to his heart and blood vessels caused by cardiovascular disease.
“It's turning a ship around before it hits the iceberg, but I think we're beginning to turn it around,” he said in an interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. When the former President had a quadruple bypass in 2004, he lowered the cholesterol in his diet. But when doctors last year had to implant two stents to open one of the veins from that surgery, the president took matters further and began following the advice of Dr. Dean Ornish, the diet guru who helped spark the notion of turning to vegetarianism to reverse coronary heart disease with the publication of this study in the Lancet in 1990, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., who runs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, and went vegan - cutting out meat, dairy, eggs and most oils.
There have been numerous studies linking a veggie-heavy diet with good heart health. For example, research shows that fewer vegetarians than meat-eaters have metabolic syndrome – a condition with three of five heart-risk factors including high blood pressure, triglycerides and blood sugar, low “good” cholesterol and a large waist size. In addition, research shows that a nutrient-dense, vegetarian-based diet can lower levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol.
“All my blood tests are good, and my vital signs are good, and I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy,” Clinton said. In December 2010, PETA named Clinton its ‘Person of the Year’, estimating that his diet shift spared the lives of 200 animals a year.