A vegetable based diet is the key for longevity
Want to dodge heart disease? Then eat like an ape!
People with elevated cholesterol have heard the mantra from their
doctors: eat a healthy diet and exercise more, or you may up your risk
of a heart attack. But as anyone who has struggled to lower their
cholesterol through diet knows, it is no easy task. Cholesterol can be
obtained when you eat foods high in cholesterol, but it is also made
by the liver. Consequently, it has been thought that dietary changes
could not lower cholesterol as effectively as the cholesterol-lowering
medications known as statins. But a recent study that compares the two
approaches shows that a diet that includes almonds and several other
specific plant foods can lower cholesterol—specifically LDL, the "bad"
cholesterol—as significantly as a leading cholesterol-lowering
We had some interest in looking at the evolution of the human diet.
The thinking was that for much of our evolutionary development over
the last 10 or 15 million years, we would have been predominantly
vegetarian. And if you look at the great apes living presently, they
are, for the most part, eating a vegetarian diet. So genetically we're
designed for basically a fruit, nut and vegetable diet.
This led to a study that we conducted about three or four years ago
looking at that sort of diet, a simian diet. We had about a 35 percent
reduction in LDL cholesterol. So we knew the diet could achieve a much
greater reduction than that which was generally recognized by health
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