STRESS, DIET, AND YOUR HEART by

STRESS, DIET, AND YOUR HEART

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In a controlled study at Baylor College of Medicine, Ornish has demonstrated that changes in stress management and diet can improve heart function. He particularly endorses meditation and a vegetarian diet--on the basis also of his own experience (less nervousness, greater ability to concentrate, more energy) beginning in medical school. So his book is of interest despite the familiarity of his actual recommendations and a major gap in his program: exercise. Ornish first explains what coronary heart disease is; how stress and poor diet contribute to it; the magnitude of the problem nationwide; and the improvements in the people he studied--subjective (decreased chest pain, increased tolerance for exercise) and objective (lower blood pressure, positive changes in other standard indicators). Part II provides detailed instructions on stress management techniques: stretching, progressive deep relaxation, breathing, meditation, visualization--plus some hints on how to stop smoking. Part II, more than half the book, is devoted to diet. The basic message is that it's much easier to have a healthy diet if meat is omitted--so the extensive cooking tips, menus, and recipes that follow are vegetarian. As regards exercise, Ornish feels that most people over 40 should be supervised by a physician on the alert for ""potentially lethal"" heart complications; only the foreword, by Harvard's Alexander Leaf, urges regular aerobic exercise. Readers shopping for an all-round program should thus see either Kenneth Cooper's The Aerobics Program for Total Well-Being (p. 1130) or Norman Kaplan's Prevent Your Heart Attack (p. 1224), while Ornish is worth checking for his research findings.

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 1982
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston