Ornish Diet: What Makes This Plan So Heart Healthy?

Ornish Diet: What Makes This Plan So Heart Healthy?

Dr. Dean Ornish has found a science-backed way to reverse heart disease.

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By Taylor Lupo

Your diet may be more powerful than you thought. In fact, the Ornish Reversal Program, an eating plan designed by Dean Ornish, MD, a professor of medicine and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, can reverse heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer and other conditions. The program limits fat and encourages a diet filled with all-natural, plant-based nutrition.

Looking to get your eating habits on the right track and reverse your heart disease? Check out the Ornish Reversal program, ranked #2 in best heart-healthy diets by U.S. News & World Reportit might just save your life.

The Reversal Plan: Skip This

2 / 4 The Reversal Plan: Skip This

This diet is not focused on weight loss, so calories are unrestricted, unless you’re also looking to shed a few pounds. To keep energy levels steady and stave off hunger, eating small frequent meals may help eliminate overeating. The size and frequency of meals are far less important than what you put in—or leave out of—your body.

Unfortunately for meat lovers, this eating plan eliminates meat, poultry and fish. The goal is to eliminate anything your body doesn’t need, like excess fat, bad carbohydrates and animal proteins. To limit fat, the diet recommends shunning even foods like oils, avocado and olives.

The Reversal Plan: Eat That

3 / 4 The Reversal Plan: Eat That

With few exceptions, like egg whites and nonfat milk, this reversal plan relies heavily on a plant-based diet. Why? The focus of this eating plan is on good carbohydrates, heart-healthy fats and plant protein—all of which are abundant in produce and whole grains. The plan encourages fiber-rich foods that are also abundant in complex carbs, which keep you fuller for longer.

Ornish recommends eating fruits and veggies in their most natural state. Good fats aren’t totally off limits, but no more than 10 percent of daily calories should be from fat sources like produce, grains, beans and small servings of nuts or seeds.

Extra, Extra

4 / 4 Extra, Extra

This eating plan doesn’t have to be all carrots and celery either. There’s wiggle room in the Ornish Reversal Program for your favorite indulgences like caffeine, alcohol and a dash (or two) of salt.

Moderate salt and other spice consumption, unless specified by your healthcare provider, is encouraged. The same goes for your favorite wine or spirits—one daily serving of your favorite beverage is allowed, although not encouraged.

Need a daily caffeine fix? The eating plan allows for no more than one cup of coffee or two cups of black or green tea a day. 

This content was published on January 5, 2017.