Letter to the Editor

Keep a healthy heart for the sweetie

Sunday, February 8, 2009

To the Editor:

Show your heart some love this Valentine's Day.

February is American Heart Month and as a dietitian, I think it's the perfect time to get in shape and boost heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States -- but it doesn't have to be that way. Simple dietary and lifestyle choices can play a major role in preventing and reversing heart disease.

Studies by Dean Ornish, M.D., have repeatedly shown that even people with advanced heart disease who adopt a low-fat vegetarian diet, stop smoking and engage in mild daily exercise, can substantially improve their cardiovascular health. Dr. Ornish's patients experienced dramatic improvements in their cholesterol levels, and some actually reversed the disease.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans can help fight this deadly disease -- and they can help reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity and cancer. This Valentine's Day, have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones about protecting your health by following a nutritious and well-balanced plant-based diet.

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.,

Staff Dietitian, Physicians Committee for

Responsible Medicine,

Washington, D.C.