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August 9, 2021

Sicilian Secret

Heart Health Benefits of a Plant-Rich Diet

There is a growing body of scientific nutritional research indicating that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits help increase health span by lowering the risk of heart disease and cancers. Plants are full of health promoting phytonutrients that naturally decrease inflammation, are antioxidants, decrease the “bad” LDL Cholesterol and help the trillion of cells in our bodies to function at an optimal level. Eating nutrient-rich foods also help us maintain an optimal body weight. There is a concept I call “nutritional intelligence” where we become satiated when we achieve adequate nutritional intake. If one eats nutritionally poor foods, then we will keep on eating because we are not taking in the adequate nutrition to feed our cells, and obesity ensues.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that plant-rich diets lower heart disease. Researchers looked at the quality of the diet in participants of the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) Study. They found that long-term adherence to a plant-rich diet lowered heart disease risk by 52%. They also found that the earlier one starts a plant-rich diet the lower their heart disease risk.

The Sicilian Secret Diet is a diet that is rich in plants, fruits, olive oil, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and fish and low in high saturated fats animal products. This way of eating has been shown to lower heart disease as was seen in this latest study and is a very enjoyable way to eat.


Choi Y, Larson N, Steffen LM, et al. Plant-centered diet and risk of incident cardiovascular disease during young to middle adulthood. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021;e020718. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.020718


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