Skip to main content

Book Summary – Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease - Book summary

Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. is a surgeon, researcher and former clinician. This book presents the results of his 20-year nutritional study, which shows that a plant-based, oil-free diet can prevent the progression of coronary heart disease, and even reverse its effects. It includes a range of research findings and stories from real-life patients, as well as >150 recipes you can use to start taking control of your health and life. In this free version of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease summary, we’ll share the key insights about his health program. The insights can be used by medical researchers, professionals and organizations, or anyone who’s interested in better health.

You can Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

Coronary artery disease is the #1 killer in Western societies. At the time this book was published in 2007, more than half a million people in the USA were dying from coronary artery disease. About 1.5 mil suffered from known heart attacks, and another 3 mil were estimated to suffer from “silent” heart attacks, i.e. they didn’t know they were having a heart attack until after the event.

About 50% of all American men and 30% of all American women will have some form of heart disease in their lifetime. Each year, the USA alone spends >$250 billion on heart disease, including cardiac drugs, heart-bypass surgeries, lasers, stents etc.

With scientific progress, surgery has become much more sophisticated. Yet, it can be costly, painful, risky and even disfiguring. More importantly, surgery can only treat the symptoms to delay the progress of the disease. It doesn’t cure the disease itself, nor prevent its development or progression.

Dr. Esselstyn believes that it’s much better to tackle the root of the problem by treating the underlying disease. In our complete version of the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease summary, we’ll dive into the details about:

  • Types of heart disease and their causes;
  • The critical role of fat and cholesterol in heart disease (and a range of chronic diseases);
  • Supporting evidence from a range of real-world studies and Dr. Esselstyn’s own experiments and experience;
  • The limitation of various surgical or mechanical interventions, and why nutrition is the best solution to reverse and prevent heart diseases by tackling the root causes; and
  • Why such nutritional recommendations have not been widely the governmental and medical authorities and experts.

Arresting Heart Disease with the Right Nutrition

The key is to keep your (i) total blood cholesterol to <150 mg/dL and (ii) LDL cholesterol to <80 mg/dL through a plant-based nutrition (and low doses of cholesterol-reducing drugs if necessary). At this level, you simply cannot deposit fat or cholesterol into your coronary arteries, so it’s guaranteed to arrest the progression of heart disease (or even reverse it).

In a nutshell, this is Dr. Esselstyn’s plant-based, oil-free diet:

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease summary - Plant-based, oil free nutrition

  • Any meat, poultry, fish or eggs, i.e. “anything with a mother or a face”. Fish may contain essential arginine and omega-3 fatty acids, but there’re healthier sources (below).
  • Dairy products, including butter, cheese, yogurt, and milk.
  • All types of oil, including olive oil and canola oil.
  • Refined grains, including white rice and enriched flour products which have lost much of their nutrients and fiber.
  • All types of nuts if you have heart disease. People without heart disease can consider walnuts as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, though Dr. Esselstyn recommends to avoid nuts altogether since it’s easy to over-consume them to increase cholesterol levels.

DO EAT a variety of these nutrient-dense foods:

  •  All types of vegetables, including leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach, bok choy), root vegetables (e.g. sweet potatoes, yams), and other vegetables of varying colors (e.g. broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, eggplants, radishes, celery, onions, carrots, cucumbers). Heart patients should avoid avocado given its high fat content.
  • All legumes, including beans, peas, and lentils.
  • All whole grains (e.g. whole rye, whole oats, barley, buckwheat, cornmeal, wild rice) and products from whole grains (e.g. bread, pasta, cereals) without added fats.
  • All types of fruits. Since fruits have high sugar content, ideally limit your fruits consumption to 3 servings a day and avoid pure fruit juices.
  • Beverages, e.g. water, oat milk, no-fat soy milk, coffee, tea, and alcohol (in moderate amounts).

Generally, if you consume a full range of plant-based foods, you’ll have all the protein, fat and nutrients you need. In our full version of the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease summary, we’ll share more about:

  • Possible dietary supplements (e.g. Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed meal or chia seeds, etc.).
  • Important points to note about the nutritional program, including the need for strict compliance.
  • Tips to help you get started and succeed with this healthy lifestyle and dietary change, with 4 strategies to counter likely obstacles.
  • Tips for healthy cooking, with sample recipes (e.g. Easy Blueberry Muffins, Colorful Broccoli Salad, Eggplant-Tomato Melt, Mushroom Ratatouille, Roasted Pears with Maple Crunch), out of over 150 recipes from the book.

Getting the Most from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

In this article, we’ve briefly outlined some of the key insights from the book. For an overview of the facts and strategies for preventing and reversing heart disease, do get our complete book summary bundle which includes an infographic, 16-page text summary, and a 27-minute audio summary.  Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease summary - book summary bundle

In the book, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. shares a range of empirical research, examples of his patients’ journey to recovery, diagrams and angiogram scans (to provide visual evidence of how coronary artery disease can be arrested/reversed), and various exchanges with authorities and experts in the medical/nutritional fields. He also addresses common questions and concerns about plant-based nutrition, and provides a wide range of food recipes that’re compliant with his nutritional program. You can purchase the book here for the full details, or visit

If you’re interested to learn more about nutrition and health, do read more about the extensive research in The China Study summary, learn from the longest-living people in the world in The Blue Zones summary, or understand how our body has evolved with time and lifestyle changes The Story of the Human Body summary.

About the Author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure is written by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.–an American physician, author and former Olympic rowing champion. His lowfat, whole foods, plant-based diet was advocated by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Esselstyn graduated from Yale University in 1956 and received his M.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1961.

He completed a tour as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, and served the Cleveland Clinic as the President of the Staff and as a member of its Board of Governors until 2000. He also served as the President of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons in 1991, and contributed to several nutritional publications. In 2005, he received the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine, and in 2009 the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association. In 2010 he received the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Award.

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Quotes

“As long as medicine was practiced on a fee-for-service piecework basis, comprehensive preventive medicine would never become the driving force in a physician’s life.”

“With plant-based nutrition, the endothelial cell is a metabolic dynamo that ensures vascular health.”

“My message is clear and absolute: coronary artery disease need not exist, and if it does, it need not progress.”

“[Surgery] is a mechanical approach to a biological problem.”

“Nutrition is the real key to saving your life in the long term. Eating the right way not only will help reduce your cholesterol levels, but also can work additional wonders you may never have imagined.”

Click here to download the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease summary & infographic

Leave a Reply

0 cart

My Cart

Cart is empty