Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn claims that certain foods restrict dilation and constriction of the endothelial function, leading to damage to the endothelial lining and heart attacks. He says do not eat foods that damage and interfere with the endothelial function and to eat only foods that contribute to function and that will result in being heart attack proof. These foods destroy the endothelial capacity to make nitric oxide.
Heart disease is high with the standard American diet (SAD). He prescribes a diet termed, "Wholefood, plant based" basically non-commercial or traditional vegan diet or diets based on cultures where the epidemiology show they do not get heart disease. Two predominant studies were the China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell who also prescribes the same diet calling it Whole/Plant Based and The Blue Zones, demographic work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain and expanded by Dan Buettner pinpointing four additional locations Okinawa (Japan); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece); and Loma Linda (California, United States). More recently, he has also mentioned water fasting to get things started, perhaps 24 hours prior to only eating vegetables, possibly observing some of the fasting studies and of course exercise. The diet is centered around strictly and only vegetables, plants, legumes, low sugar fruits, berries, each subject to scientific scrutiny.
- no oil
- no animal products, meat, fish, fowl, eggs
- no diary
- no sugar
- no coffee, tea with caffeine OK, but not coffee with caffeine.
- He doesn't like nuts (perhaps because they are addictive) or avocado and too much saturated fat.