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How do you reverse heart disease naturally?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 20, 2023.

Official answer


Lifestyle modifications are recommended to help prevent and slow the progress of heart disease. Reversing heart disease was reported to be possible more than 20 years ago by following a program of intensive lifestyle modifications (including a low-fat, strict plant-based diet, aerobic exercise program, stress management training, smoking cessation and support group participation), which later became known as the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program. However, the study that reported the findings had a number of limitations and larger, longer-term studies are still needed to confirm the results.

Making lifestyle modifications may help you to naturally reduce or avoid risk factors for heart disease. Recommended changes include:

  • Stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke
  • Exercise at a moderate intensity for 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week
  • Eat healthy foods - a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar is recommended
  • Maintain a healthy weight - a BMI of less than 25 and a waist circumference of 35 inches (88.9 centimeters) or less is the goal
  • Reduce stress as much as possible - practice techniques for managing stress, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing
  • Limit alcohol
  • Sleep - get a good night's sleep
  1. Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, Gould KL, Merritt TA, Sparler S, Armstrong WT, Ports TA, Kirkeeide RL, Hogeboom C, Brand RJ. Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease. JAMA. 1998;280(23):2001-2007. https://doi:10.1001/jama.280.23.2001

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